First Offense DWI in New York? What You Need to Know

Posted On: May 11th, 2017

If you are charged with an alcohol-related offense—whether in a car, motorcycle, ATV, or other motor vehicle—the impact can be serious and far reaching. Consequences include fines, license restrictions, and possible jail time. It is important to understand the charges against you and know your rights.

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Your first step should be to contact an experienced DWI attorney who can guide you through the legal process. Securing legal representation as soon as possible is critical, while the events of the arrest are still fresh in your mind, to ensure all the facts and evidence are obtained.

In New York state, misdemeanor DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is charged when a person operating a motor vehicle has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater. Law enforcement will also charge you with DWI if your BAC is:

  • 0.04% and you are driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • 0.02% and you are younger than 21 years old

Additional  charges relating to DWI include:

  • Misdemeanor Aggravated DWI –  charged when a person operating a motor vehicle has a BAC of .18 or greater

  • Felony Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle (aka Leandra’s Law) – charged when a person operating a motor vehicle has a BAC of .08 or greater and a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle

If you are charged with DWI in New York state, you may be required by the judge to surrender your license at your first court appearance under New York’s prompt suspension law. However, you may be able to keep your license or obtain a hardship license. Your attorney can guide you through those options.

A first-time DWI conviction in New York is a misdemeanor criminal offense unless it’s charged under Leandra’s Law, in which case it is a felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months; if you are under age 21, your license will be revoked for one year. For a first-time Aggravated DWI or a Leandra’s Law violation, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year.

Additionally, if you are a commercial driver, your commercial driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of one year whether or not you were convicted of a DWI while operating a commercial vehicle.

Photo by: Randy Heinitz

To obtain a New York state license after your revocation period, you will have to complete the process of applying for a brand-new license; you will not be able to simply reinstate your previous license.

Financial penalties for a DWI in New York are severe. For a first-time DWI offense, you will be charged up to $1,000 in court fines, with another $370 in surcharges. Aggravated DWI court fines can be up to $2,500 with nearly $400 in surcharges, and Aggravated DWI/Leandra’s Law will cost up to $5,000 in fines plus almost $500 in surcharges.

In addition, there is a mandatory DMV Driver Assessment Penalty—regardless of the type of conviction—of $750. If you are eligible to participate in the Impaired Driving Program, it will cost $300, plus other related fees.


Photo by: Rsheram

If you were convicted of DWI, Aggravated DWI or Aggravated DWI/Leandra’s Law, you must also pay approximately $100 to install the ignition interlock device plus approximately $100/month for maintenance, which is typically required for a minimum of one year, although application for early removal can be made if you have no prior New York DWI convictions.

For more information about DWI-related issues, visit our FAQ page and contact us for a no-obligation consultation. At LaMarche Safranko, we are experienced New York DWI lawyers, so let us put our skill to work for you and help protect all your rights.


Consult With An Attorney

When faced with a painful and potentially life-altering legal situation, you want the best people on your team. Someone you can trust. An advocate that listens and becomes your voice. A dedicated, seasoned professional who genuinely cares and can provide guidance in a time of uncertainty.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense or you or someone close to you has been injured, contact LaMarche Safranko Law for a no-obligation consultation, or call (518) 982-0770. We have law offices in Albany, Clifton Park and Plattsburgh NY, and we are available to take your call 24 hours a day.

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LaMarche Safranko Law PLLC

LaMarche Safranko Law PLLC