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How does New York penalize drunk drivers?

Getting charged with a DWI is a major crime and one that the State of New York takes very seriously. If you are facing charges for Driving While Intoxicated, you should never take it lightly. Chances are, you've heard all sorts of rumors about what to do if you're pulled over and what the penalties are for being convicted. Unfortunately, legal information spreads like a bad game of "Telephone," and everyone seems to have heard something different.

With that in mind, let's clear some of the fog and give you the straight facts, directly from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. The first order of business is to remind you that refusing to take a Breathalyzer, urine test or blood test is an automatic fine of $500 and a minimum of one year without a driver's license. Now, what are the punishments for a basic DWI conviction, meaning a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more, within 10 years?

  • The first DWI offense carries a fine of $500 to $1,000, a maximum of one year in jail and a no license for six months.
  • The second DWI offense carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, a maximum of four years in jail and a no license for one year.
  • The third DWI offense carries a fine of $2,000 to $10,000, a maximum of four years in jail and a no license for one year.

New York also has what's called Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, which means a blood alcohol content of 0.18 or more. The penalties for that are even more severe:

  • The first AGG DWI offense carries a fine of $1,000 to $2,500, a maximum of one year in jail and a no license for one year.
  • The second AGG DWI offense carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, a maximum of four years in jail and a no license for 18 months.
  • The third AGG DWI offense carries a fine of $2,000 to $10,000, a maximum of seven years in jail and a no license for 18 months.

Given how serious DWI penalties are, it's advisable to speak with a defense attorney.

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