In the state of New York, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious crime and can result in severe penalties. An aggravated DWI in New York, also known as a DWI with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) or with other aggravating factors, is considered an even more severe offense and can result in harsher penalties. The legal limit for BAC in New York is 0.08%. If a person is pulled over and their BAC is found to be 0.18% or higher, they will be charged with an aggravated DWI. Additionally, if a person is found to be driving under the influence with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, they will also be charged with an aggravated DWI. It is important to note that even if a person is charged with an aggravated DWI, they still have the right to a fair trial and the ability to mount a defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help a person understand their rights and options, and can work to have the charges reduced or dismissed if there is insufficient evidence or if the stop or arrest was made illegally.
Is An Aggravated DWI A Felony In NY?
Any driver who has been convicted of aggravated driving under the influence and commits the same offense within ten years of their prior conviction in New York may be prosecuted with felony aggravated driving under the influence. Contrary to the minor penalty of first-time aggravated DWI, the felony charge of aggravated DWI can result in a driver serving up to seven years in jail. The driver who is found guilty might also face fines of up to $10,000 and a minimum license suspension of 18 months.
Aggravated DWI—Child In Car
The accusation of Aggravated DWI with a Child in a Car is another variant of the offense. A motorist is charged with aggravated DWI if there was a child under 16 years old in the vehicle at the time of the DWI or DWAI. It is a crime to be found guilty of this offense even once. Aggravated DWI with a Child in the Car carries a fine of up to $10,000, a five-year probationary period, a minimum one-year license suspension, and a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.
New York’s Aggravated DWI Penalties
The penalties imposed depend on which type of Aggravated-DWI the defendant is convicted of and whether the defendant has prior impaired driving convictions.
A first conviction for Aggravated-DWI per se is a misdemeanor. However, a first conviction for Aggravated-DWI with a child passenger is a class E felony.
Jail and fines. The maximum jail sentence for a first conviction for Aggravated-DWI per se is one year. In addition to or instead of a jail sentence, the judge can impose a fine of $1,000 to $2,500.
A first conviction for Aggravated-DWI with a child passenger carries a sentence of one to four years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
License revocation. A defendant’s license will be revoked for one year as the result of a first Aggravated-DWI conviction.
Both types of Aggravated-DWI are considered second convictions and Class E felonies if the defendant has a prior DWI, Aggravated-DWI, Drug-DWAI, or Combination-DWAI within the previous ten years.
Jail and fines. A second conviction for Aggravated-DWI within ten years carries a sentence of one to four years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
License revocation. A defendant who’s convicted of a second Aggravated-DWI within a period of ten years is subject to an 18-month license revocation.
If the defendant has two prior DWI, Aggravated-DWI, Drug-DWAI, or Combination-DWAI convictions within the past ten years, a third Aggravated-DWI is a Class D felony.
Jail and fines. A third Aggravated-DWI conviction within ten years carries a sentence of one to seven years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000 to $10,000.
License revocation. A defendant who has three impaired driving convictions, refused to take a chemical test three times, or a combination of three convictions and refusals within a four-year period is subject to permanent license revocation. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can waive the revocation after five years if the defendant:
- doesn’t refuse a chemical test during the five-year revocation period
- isn’t convicted of any impaired driving offense during the five-year revocation period, and
- successfully completes an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program.
The defendant can obtain a conditional license after a mandatory revocation period of three years.
Additional Penalties For All Aggravated-DWI Convictions
Ignition interlock device. All Aggravated-DWI convictions carry an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement. A defendant must install an IID in any vehicle he or she owns or operates during the term of probation or conditional discharge. The IID requirement generally continues for a minimum of one year. However, in some circumstances, the defendant can remove the IID after six months.
Alcohol/drug screening, assessment, and treatment. A defendant who’s charged with a first violation of Aggravated-DWI with a child passenger and his or her BAC was less than .15% must submit to a screening for substance abuse and dependency.
The defendant must undergo a formal alcohol/drug abuse and dependency assessment if:
- the alcohol/drug screening indicates that the defendant is abusing or dependent on alcohol or drugs
- the defendant is charged with Aggravated-DWI per se, or
- the defendant is charged with Aggravated-DWI with a child passenger and his or her BAC was .15% or more.
If the assessment indicates a need of treatment for alcohol or drug abuse or dependency, the defendant must complete treatment as a condition of probation.
Victim impact program. All DWI and DWAI offenders generally must attend a victim impact program (VIP). The VIP is a single session of presentations regarding the impacts of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Driver responsibility assessment. All defendants convicted of any impaired driving offense must pay a driver responsibility assessment of $250 for three years.
Do You Lose Your License After A DWI In NY?
In New York, if you are convicted of a DWI (driving while intoxicated), your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. The specific length of the suspension or revocation will depend on the circumstances of your case and whether you are a first-time or repeat offender. For example, if it’s a first-time offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .05 and .07, your license will be suspended for 90 days. If it’s a first-time offense and your BAC is .08 or higher, your license will be suspended for at least 6 months. And if it’s a second or subsequent offense, your license will be suspended for at least 1 year. It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines and specific penalties can vary based on the circumstances of your case.
How Do You Beat A DWI In NY?
Defending against a DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge in New York can be challenging, but there are several strategies that a defense attorney may use to try to beat the charge or mitigate the penalties. Some possible defense strategies include:
- Challenging the traffic stop: If the police did not have a valid reason for stopping your vehicle, the defense attorney may argue that any evidence obtained during the stop should be excluded from the trial.
- Questioning the accuracy of the breath or blood test: The defense attorney may argue that the breath or blood test used to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) was not properly calibrated or administered, or that the results were affected by a medical condition or other factors.
- Arguing that you were not under the influence: Even if your BAC was above the legal limit, the defense attorney may argue that you were not actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the arrest.
- Discussing plea bargaining: In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to reduce the charges to a lesser offense in exchange for a guilty plea. This can help to minimize the penalties.
It’s important to keep in mind that each case is different, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. An experienced DWI attorney in New York will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.
What You Should Know
People who were earlier eligible for reduced charges may now have fewer options due to changes in New York’s DWI legislation. According to New York law, a district attorney cannot agree to lower an aggravated DWI case to a standard DWI. However, it is feasible to contest the veracity of the data indicating your blood alcohol level. In this circumstance, it is more crucial than ever to seek the advice of a New York DWI attorney to guide you through your legal issue and ensure the finest outcome.