New York’s Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Laws and Penalties

How New York defines “DWI” and “DWAI” and the consequences of a conviction.

New York’s drunk driving laws are among the most complex in the nation. While most states have two types of DUIs (“per se” and impairment), New York has five general categories of impaired driving offenses:

  • DWI (Driving while intoxicated): Operation vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (.04% or more for commercial drivers) or impaired to a “substantial extent.”
  • Alcohol-DWAI (driving while ability impaired): Operating a vehicle while your ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” person has been impaired to “any extent” by alcohol.
  • Drug-DWAI: In New York, a “drug-DWAI” is defined as operating a vehicle while your ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” person has been impaired to “any extent” by drugs.
  • Combination-DWAI: Motorists who operate a vehicle while their ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” person has been impaired to “any extent” by a combination of alcohol and drugs can be convicted of a “combination-DWAI.”
  • Aggravated DWI: New York defines “aggravated DWI” as operating a vehicle with a BAC of .18% or higher or driving intoxicated with a passenger who’s 15 years old or younger.

The penalties for a conviction depend on the classification of the offense and the number or prior convictions the driver has within a certain period of time.

How Long Will a DWI or DWAI Stay on Your Record?

Many states have a set “look-back” or “wash-out” period (such as seven or ten years) that applies for all purposes. Impaired driving convictions that occurred within the look-back period count as prior convictions. Convictions that occurred before the look-back period don’t count. However, New York has several different look-back periods—four, five, ten, and 25 years. Which period applies depends on the circumstances.

DWI and DWAI Conviction Penalties

The consequences of a DWI or DWAI conviction depend on a number of factors, including the classification of the offense and the number of prior convictions the driver has.

Alcohol-DWAI Convictions

Alcohol-DWAIs are infractions for first and second convictions (within five years) and misdemeanors for third convictions (within ten years).

First Conviction

Second Conviction

Third Conviction

Jail Time

15-day maximum

30-day maximum

180-day maximum

Fines

$300 to $500

$500 to $750

$750 to $1,500

License Suspension

90-day revocation

6-month revocation

6-month revocation

DWI, Drug-DWAI, and Combination-DWAI Convictions

DWIs, drug-DWAIs, and combination-DWAIs are misdemeanors for first offenses and felonies for second and third convictions within ten years.

First Conviction

Second Conviction

Third Conviction

Jail Time

1-year maximum

1 to 4 years

(5-day minimum if prior conviction within 5 years)

1 to 7 years

(10-day minimum if prior convictions were within 5 years)

Fines

$500 to $1,000

$1,000 to $5,000

$2,000 to $10,000

License Suspension

6-month revocation

1-year revocation (if prior was within a 10-year period)

Permanent revocation (if priors were within a 4-year period)

Talk to an Attorney

As noted above, New York’s impaired driving laws are complicated and we can’t cover all the details and nuances here. So, if you’re arrested for driving under the influence, get in touch with a local DWI attorney. A knowledgeable DWI lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to your case and let you know what you’re up against.

Protect Yourself. Talk to a Lawyer About Your Case

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FACING A DUI?

Talk to a DUI Defense attorney

We've helped 115 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you