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Is a DWI a Felony in New York?

Last updated on: July 26, 2022

By Lebedin Kofman LLP

The state of New York takes drunk driving offenses very seriously. But DWI charges and penalties vary depending on many different variables. If you have been charged with drunk driving in New York, it is important to get the assistance of a DWI lawyer in New York to answer any questions and defend you against serious charges.

In New York, drunk driving charges will range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, whether it is a first offense and other factors. While a first drunk driving charge is usually considered a misdemeanor, this can quickly escalate into felony charges upon second and third convictions.

What are the Penalties for a DWI in New York?

In New York, there are several categories of drunk driving charges. 

A DWAI, or driving while alcohol-impaired charge, is driving while impaired by alcohol, but your BAC is under the limit of .08 percent. It becomes a DWI/DUI when the BAC is over the .08 percent limit. First-time DWAI convictions can be punished by

  • Fines of $300 to $500
  • Jail time of up to 15 days
  • A 90-day suspension of your license

A second and third DWAI will see increased fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension time, but these charges remain misdemeanors.

A DWI conviction is where charges can go from a misdemeanor to a felony. A first DWI conviction with a greater than .08 percent up to a .18 percent BAC will be regarded as a misdemeanor with penalties of

  • Fines of between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to a year in jail
  • A minimum of one year driver’s license suspension

A second DWI conviction within ten years of the first will be considered a class E felony, subject to

  • Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000
  • Up to four years in jail or 30 days of community service
  • A minimum of one year driver’s license revocation
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

If a third DWI is committed within five years, it will be considered a class D felony with the possibility of the following

  • Fines of between $2,000 to $10,000
  • Up to seven years in jail or 60 days of community service
  • A minimum of one year driver’s license revocation with a possibility of permanent revocation
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

Aggravated DWI in New York

If you are caught driving with a BAC of .18 or higher in New York, you can be charged with an aggravated DWI. While this has many of the same penalties as a DWI, the main difference is the duration you will lose your driver’s license.

A first-time aggravated DWI in New York is still a misdemeanor, but your license can be revoked for a minimum of one year. Second and third offenses will be considered felonies and your license can be revoked for a minimum of 18 months. A third offense committed within ten years of the others will put you at risk for losing your license permanently. 

Getting the Legal Assistance of an Experienced New York DWI Attorney

No matter what degree of alcohol-related offense you are convicted of, it is still considered a criminal conviction. It will show up on your record, with anyone doing a background check on you able to see it. Having a criminal conviction on your record can have a serious negative impact on your life.

If you have been charged with a DWI in New York, you may have some defense strategies available to you. Call the experienced New York DWI attorneys at Lebedin Kofman at (646) 663-4430 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options.  

Criminal Defense

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