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DWI Penalties

In New York, the penalty for a DWI depends on how many prior offenses you have had and what you were charged with.

  • DWAI- DWAI is usually charged as an infraction, like a speeding ticket. However, even a first offense can have significant penalties. You’ll be fined anywhere from $300 to $500, may have to spend up to 15 days in jail, and your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  • DWAI- 2nd offense in 5 years: You will be fined anywhere from $500-$750, you can spend up to 30 days in jail, and you will lose your license for 6 months.
  • DWAI- 3rd offense in 10 years: You will be fined between $750 and $1000, you could go to jail for up to 180 days, and you will lose your license for anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on when your last violation was.
  • DWI- 1st offense: You will be fined $500 to $1000, you may spend up to a year in jail, and you’ll lose your license for 6 months.
  • DWI- 2nd offense in 5 years: You’ll have to pay a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000. Plus, you’ll either spend 5 days in jail or do 30 days of community service, and you could face up to 4 years in prison! Also, you won’t be able to drive for a year.
  • DWI-3rd offense within 5 years: You’ll have to pay between $2,000 and $10,000 in fines, you’ll have a mandatory 10 days in jail or 60 days community service, and you could go to prison for 7 years. You can kiss your license goodbye for at least a year, and you may have to pay to have an ignition interlock device (in-car breathalyzer) installed to get it back. You will also be required to undergo an alcohol evaluation.
  • DWI-2nd offense within 10 years: You’ll be fined between $1,000 and $5000. You may be sent to prison for up to 4 years, and you’ll lose your license for a year at least.
  • DWI-3rd offense within 10 years: You’ll be fined $2,000 to $10,000, you’ll lose your license for a year or more, and you may face up to 7 years in prison.
  • Aggravated DWI-1st offense: You’ll be fined an amount between $1,000 to $2,500. You will lose your license for at least a year and could also go to prison for up to a year.
  • Aggravated DWI-2nd offense in 5 years: You will be fined $1,000 to $5,000, will lose your license for 18 months, and will have to spend 5 days in jail or do 30 days of community service. There is a possibility that you could go to prison for 4 years.
  • Aggravated DWI-3rd offense in 10 years: You will be fined between $1,000 to $5,000, lose your driver’s license for at least 18 months, and you’ll have a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service. Plus, you could go to prison for up to 7 years.

 

Drinking Driver Program

If your license is suspended for an alcohol or drug related violation, you may be able to get a conditional license that will enable you to drive to and from work or school if you attend a New York Drinking Driver Program. This is basically an alcohol and drug awareness class that also includes counseling, screening and evaluation to see if further treatment is warranted. Other than being able to get a conditional license, the silver lining of this program is that if you need help, they will refer you somewhere where you can get it.


To enroll in a “Drinking Driver Program,” look at the “Notice of Suspension or Revocation” that the DMV gave you when it took your license. It should provide you with the nearest program location.

 

Civil Forfeiture

In some parts of New York State, particularly New York City, getting arrested for DWI can lead to the loss of your car. This is done through a process called civil forfeiture, which enables the government to take your property if it was used to commit a crime. Since drunk driving is a crime that involves your car, the police can seize your vehicle after you arrested. Also, since this is a civil action and not a criminal action, even if you are later acquitted for DWI, the police department that seized your vehicle can still continue to try to lay claim to it in civil court.

 

Driver Responsibility Surcharges

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, if you are convicted of DWI or DWAI, you will have to pay a driver responsibility surcharge of $250 each year for the 3 years following your conviction.

 

 

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