DUI laws vary by state, and the DUI laws in New York are some of the toughest in the country. Due to a reputation for harsh enforcement and several new laws on the books, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that DUI laws in New York are laws which any individual would not wish to run afoul. A basic knowledge of New York DUI laws can help you know what to expect if you are caught driving under the influence, but the safest way to avoid the penalties is not to drive drunk in the first place.
Basic DUI Laws in New York
There are several New York DUI laws on the book, each corresponding to different types of offenses. At the bottom level, there is Driving While Alcohol Impaired (DWAI), which is generally imposed on those with a blood alcohol level of .05 to .07. The next step up is Driving While Intoxicated, perhaps the most common of the DUI laws in New York to be enforced. This is generally enforced for those with a BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, of above .07. There is a third level, the Aggravated DWI, which is for those with a BAC of .18 or higher. This latest law was enacted in 2006, and carries harsh penalties. While the DWAI is a violation in New York and the DWI is a misdemeanor which can both be plead down, an individual with an Aggravated DWI is unable to please down to the DWAI under the recently enacted laws in the state.
DUI Law Enforcement in New York
As in most areas of the country, laws related to driving under the influence are fairly strictly enforced in New York State. These penalties vary quite a bit by the severity of the offense and whether or not the offender has been convicted before, but most of the penalties are substantially higher than those imposed ten years ago. The minimum offense for a DWAI involves a fine of up to five hundred dollars, up to fifteen days in jail and a mandatory loss of license for ninety days. At the same time, the minimum punishment for one’s third DWI in five years can run a fine of up to ten thousand dollars, a minimum of ten days (and up to seven years) in jail and a mandatory year’s lost license, an interlock device on one’s ignition and court evaluations.
New York DUI laws are harsh for those at the highest end of the blood alcohol level spectrum, and it is difficult to plea down the charge. If you want to avoid these penalties, never drink and drive. There is no drink worth the possibility of spending a year in jail.