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The facts that underlie a traffic stop followed by a charge of drunk driving are subject to many variables, and the development of state laws in New York governing drunk driving take such variations into account.

Each case of alleged drunk driving is unique on its own facts. This post cannot cover all the possible variations, and is intended for informational use only. A first-time offense, for example, will be treated differently than subsequent offenses, or for an offense that is coupled with circumstances that the law treats as more serious violations.

In New York, there are seven basic types of violations in connection with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One of these variations is aggravated driving while intoxicated, or A-DWI for short. This post covers how the law defines A-DWI, and what the possible penalties are when convicted.

In New York, the particular circumstance that triggers an A-DWI charge is a blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement of 0.18 or more, which is more than twice the 0.08 threshold for an ordinary charge of drunk driving in a non-commercial vehicle.

Similar to the other six types of alcohol or drug-related criminal charges, the penalties for A-DWI fall into three areas: loss of driving privileges, fines and possible jail sentences. For a first-time A-DWI conviction, these are:

  • Fines: $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Loss of driving privileges: License revocation for at least one year.
  • Jail sentence: Up to one year.

Predictably, for additional A-DWI convictions the penalties escalate in severity. For a third-time offender within a 10-year period, for example, the fine can reach up to $10,000, the license revocation goes up to a year and a half, and the jail time can last as long as seven years.

It is important to note that the penalties above are not the only ones that may apply. Depending on the facts of the case, a conviction for A-DWI can also lead to additional penalties, including a permanent license revocation (although reinstatement of the license may be possible after five years).

Given all that the law states about drunk driving offenses, it is important to take any DUI charge seriously. Enlisting the help of a defense attorney can be a good decision for anyone facing allegations of drunk driving.


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