Read about administrative and criminal penalties for a second-offense DWI in New York.
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Second-Offense DWI/DUI in New York

Read about the administrative and criminal penalties for a second-offense DWI in New York.

Updated March 17, 2016

This article discusses the administrative and criminal penalties for New York drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence for a second time. The penalties depend on which classification of offense a driver is convicted of. These classifications include:

  • DWI (Driving while intoxicated): Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher (.04% or higher for drivers of commercial vehicles) or impaired to a “substantial extent”
  • Aggravated DWI: BAC of .18% or higher or driving intoxicated with passenger 15 years old or younger (For more information, see New York Aggravated DWI)
  • Alcohol-DWAI (driving while ability impaired): Ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” driver has been impaired to “any extent” by alcohol
  • Drug-DWAI: Ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” driver has been impaired to “any extent” by drugs (For more information, see New York's Drugged Driving Law)
  • Combination-DWAI: Ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” driver has been impaired to “any extent” by a combination of alcohol and drugs

Look-Back Period

For purposes of determining whether a current DWI is a second-offense, the “look-back” period is ten years. In other words, a DWI is considered a second-offense if you had a prior offense within the past ten years. DWAIs involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol also have a ten-year second-offense look-back period. However, the second-offense look-back period for DWAIs involving only alcohol is five years.

It’s important to note that New York has multiple look-back periods. Depending on your situation, the look-back period could be four, five, ten, or 25 years. Consult with a New York DWI attorney to find out which look-back period applies in your case.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

If you were convicted of a DWI or a DWAI involving drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs within the past ten years and you’re convicted of a new DWI or DWAI involving drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs, you can be charged with a Class E felony. However, if your only prior offense within the past ten years was a DWAI involving just alcohol, your second-offense DWI will likely be a misdemeanor. 

Penalties

  • A felony second-offense DWI or DWAI involving drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs within ten years carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, up to four years in state prison, or both. The driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year.
  • A misdemeanor second-offense DWI or DWAI involving drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs within ten years carries a fine of $500 to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. The driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year.
  • A second DWAI involving only alcohol within five years carries a fine $500 to $750 fine, up to 30 days in jail, or both. The driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months.

A driver convicted of a second-offense DWI who was convicted of a DWI within the past five years also faces five days in jail or 30 days of community service.

New York judges are required to order second-offense DWI offenders to have ignition interlock devices (IIDs) installed on their vehicles. Judges don’t have to order IIDs for second-offense DWAI offenders.

For all second-offense DUI and DWAI offenders, judges must order alcohol assessments. If your assessment reveals that you have a substance abuse problem, you might be required to get treatment.

New York DWI law expressly prohibits most plea bargaining in DWI and DWAI cases. However, defendants in a second-offense DWI and DWAI cases still might have a number of options in dealing with their cases.  For more information and insight, consult with a New York DWI/DWAI attorney.

 

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