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:
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.
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.
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.