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New York DWI Information

Hiring a New York DWI Lawyer is a wise decision

In New York, driving while intoxicated is a leading cause of death, making the penalties for drinking and driving quite severe. For a first offense, you can expect a fine of about $300, to perhaps spend some time in jail, and to lose your license for 90 days. For a second DWI offense, the fines are larger at about $500, you may be in jail for longer, and you’ll lose your license for six months. The further you go, the worse it gets, and the more chance you have of getting a felony conviction. If you are a problematic drinker, or have a history of legal trouble, you might try a designated driver or calling someone. Anything other than driving is crucial. If you are arrested, it’s time to consult with an experienced New York DWI lawyer.

Why consult with a DWI lawyer?

A New York DWI lawyer is crucial for your defense. You might think pleading guilty and moving on is best; that’s wrong. You should plead innocent and hire a lawyer way before your trial begins. A lawyer is a necessary part of this process.

What can a lawyer do?

A lawyer can question the charges against you, question what happened, and act in your defense. He or she can lower any fines against you, if not eliminate them. You can avoid losing your license, or at least decrease the suspension. You can avoid jail time. A lawyer is an important part of this process, a voice in the court room for you.

How much will a DWI lawyer cost?

All New York DWI lawyers have different rates. Some charge hourly and some charge flat fees. No two DWI situations are exactly alike, but this will not be cheap. You will likely spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, but again the advantages are numerous. If you have multiple DWI charges, you may face extended jail time and other very stiff penalties. So the price is relative. How much is your license worth? How much is avoiding jail time worth to you?

How do you hire one?

The New York State Bar Association has a website with a listing of lawyers at NYSBA.org, where you can find some of the most experienced DWI lawyers in the state. You can find them online. You can find them in the yellow pages. You can find them through referrals. But don’t settle on the first one you find; be picky. Consult with at least 5-10 experienced New York DWI lawyers, if not more, before settling on one. Factor in court room experience, price, how well you communicate with him or her, and availability. You want a lawyer experienced in DWI court, who knows what to question. You want a lawyer you can afford. You want to be able to talk to this lawyer, as he or she will guide you for weeks if not months through this process. And you want a lawyer who is available, not overbooked with clients.

What if you pick the wrong one?

If you pick the wrong lawyer, there is no New York law saying you must keep him or her. You must only pay the fees up to that point. So if you make the wrong choice, which does happen, fire your current lawyer and continue your search. You have enough options to do so.

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New York DWI Penalties and Fines, per DWI Offense

The fines shown below are conviction fines ONLY, the list does not include other charges and fees that you could possibly receive. Such as mandatory conviction surcharges and crime victims assistance fees.

First DWI Offense in New York

You might expect a first New York DWI offense to be quite lenient. Actually, you can expect a fine of at least $500 up to $1000, to have your license suspended for at least six months, and to spend up to a year in jail. If you make this mistake, make it your last, and be sure to hire an experienced DWI lawyer.

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Second DWI Offense in New York

The second DWI offense gets even more serious. As in most states, if you receive a second DUI before a certain amount of time has passed – in New York it’s 10 years – you can be charged with a felony. Felony charges are the maximum charges you can get for a driving offense. You can expect larger fines, more time in jail, and a longer license suspension. Fines between $1000-$5000. A possible jail time of up to 4 years and your license will be revoked for at least 1 year.

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Third DWI Offense in New York

If you get a third or further offense in New York, you can expect prolonged jail time, to lose your license for years time, and to get some big fines. Fines range from $2000-$10,000. Possible jail term of up to 7 years. And your license revoked for atleast 1 year. If you are unfortunate enough to go this far, you are at the mercy of the courts, but you may not be guilty. You should always fight the charges, and should do so with a DWI lawyer.

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Types of New York DWI Charges


This is the broadest term in drinking and driving or abusing drugs and driving in New York law. However, it bears mentioning because of the confusion with DUI and OWI. DUI is driving under the influence, DWI is driving while intoxicated, and OWI operating while intoxicated. These are the same technical terms for similar laws punishing those who drink or abuse drugs and drive. While state laws differ in terms of punishment, just understand DWI is like a DUI is but is how New York courts term abusing drugs or alcohol and driving.

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This means, according to New York state law, “driving while ability impaired (by alcohol)”, and you have a lesser BAC level, usually from .05 to .07. You may show other signs of obvious impairment. Technically, an officer can arrest you if it’s obvious by your driving that you are intoxicated.

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This term is used when the problem is drug abuse, not alcohol. Even legal drugs can lead to a DWI charge if they impair your driving. If you are obviously using other drugs, you can be arrested, and if in possession of illegal drugs, face further charges.

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DWI and Prescription Drugs

Even legal drugs can lead to DWI charges. Even if you are prescribed medicine, if it affects your ability to drive you should not take it before driving. An officer still needs a valid reason to pull you over, but if your driving is impaired, you break a law, and are pulled over, you can be charged with a DWI and get subsequent charges.

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Aggravated DWI

In the state of New York, the aggravated DWI charge means you were tested as having a BAC (blood alcohol content) level over .18. It’s illegal to be at .08 in all 50 states, but if you are even further intoxicated, you are a greater danger on the road, and are subject to serious charges. Mandatory fines from $1000-$2,500. You may receive a jail term of up to 1 year. Your driver license may be revoked for at least one year.

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Refusing Chemical Test or Breathalyzer

In New York, you are penalized for refusing chemical tests, including breath tests and blood tests. Blood tests are the most accurate in terms of drug and alcohol abuse. If you refuse the breathalyzer, your New York license will be suspended for at least one year, you will face fines, and potentially stiffer charges if you’ve received a DWI before.

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Zero Tolerance Law

If you are under 21 years of age, all states can charge you for just having drank any alcohol, even if not on your possession. In New York, if you drive with a alcohol level of .02 to .07, you are charged. This zero tolerance law has a mandatory $125 civil penalty and a $100 fee to terminate the suspension. There is no jail term specified but your license will be suspended for 6 months.

Important! Fight your DWI license suspension with a New York DWI attorney immediately

No DWI charge is final. No DWI charge means guilt is assured. You should hire an experienced New York DWI lawyer if you are charged with this crime, you should question the charges, and you should plead not guilty in court. You need an experienced DWI lawyer, preferably one close to you. It’s very important to hire your own lawyer instead of using a court appointed lawyer or worse defending yourself. It does cost money, but any defense is based on a knowledge of the laws in terms of court room process and defending charges. Just because you’re charged with a DWI does not mean you will always face penalties; yes, most lead to penalties, but a good defense is invaluable in lessening charges if not having them dropped.

Related New York DWI Pages

Statistics - New York Drunk Driving Statistics