While you might have gotten comfortable in the driver’s seat over the years, driving requires constant attentiveness for safety. That’s why New York State laws are so strict when it comes to drinking and driving. Whether you’re about to meet with a DWI attorney or want to learn more about these charges, here’s what you should know.

A Guide to DWI Laws

When am I considered intoxicated?

At first, you may only be pulled over for signs of intoxication, such as swerving, speeding, or other forms of reckless driving. However, if the officer uses a breathalyzer and finds your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are .08% or higher, you will be charged with a DWI. In New York, even if your BAC isn’t outside of these limits, you can still receive a DWI if your ability to drive seems impaired by a “substantial extent.”

What will happen if I’m charged with a DWI?

dui and dwi attorneyAfter your first offense, you may face anywhere from zero days to one year in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines. However, the second offense in a five-year period will result in at least five days in jail or at least 30 days of community service, as well as additional fines.

The third offense in five years comes with a 10-day minimum jail sentence or at least 60 days of community service, and additional fines. In all cases, drivers will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicles, which prevents the car from starting until the driver uses a built-in breathalyzer.

How is it different for minors?

If you’re caught driving while intoxicated when you’re under 21, you could face more severe penalties. In this case, the BAC limit is just 0.02%.

If you’re charged, you could face a six-month license suspension. A second offense while still under 21 will result in a longer suspension—either until you turn 21, or for one year.

How does New York enforce DWI laws?

In New York, law enforcement abides by the STOP-DWI law, which uses fines from DWI charges to fund county-run programs. Each county can use the funds to bulk up on the enforcement, prosecution, and education surrounding intoxicated driving. As a result, police departments have more than enough resources to scout out motorists who are under the influence, and judges and district attorneys make more time to prosecute them in court.

If you were recently charged with a DWI, Pirrello, Personte & Feder, PLLC, Attorney at Law, can help. These DUI and DWI attorneys cater to drivers throughout Monroe County, NY, and the surrounding counties, and they have over 120 years of combined experience. Visit them online to learn more about their practice areas, including criminal defense and traffic violations. Call (585) 544-7090 to schedule a consultation with a DWI attorney.