New York City DWI Lawyer
Facing DWI Charges? Contact Gannes & Musico, LLP
DWI is a criminal offense that involves operating a motor vehicle with unlawful amounts of alcohol in one's system. A driver may also face DWI charges for driving while "under the influence" of alcohol or a controlled substance, which means that his or her physical or mental abilities are impaired because of alcohol or drug use (regardless of the particular level of alcohol in the driver's breath or blood).
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The Difference Between DUI & DWI
Before legally appearing court to challenge the allegations that have been made against you, there are many steps you will be expected to take, the most important being those to understand the criminal charges you are facing. In New York, DUI and DWI are commonly used interchangeably.
However, legally speaking, the two acronyms actually represent two different offenses:
- DUI (driving under the influence) is used to describe the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both.
- DWI (driving while intoxicated) is used to describe the offense of driving while intoxicated of alcohol. A DWI charge carries with it no implication of drug use.
In some cases, you could even incur a DWAI (driving while ability impaired [by alcohol). This is a charge often issued to persons who have been caught driving while intoxicated with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of less than the standard .08% that is normally required to warrant a DWI arrest. Persons with a BAC between .05% and .07%, as well as those who show other evidential signs of impairment, are subject to being charged with a DWAI.
DWI Penalties in New York
The DWI / DUI penalty system was designed specifically to encourage those drivers who have already received one offense of this nature to stray from ever doing so again.
As such, the penalties for each additional offense become increasingly harsher:
- First DWI Offense: Your first DWI offense will be categorized as a misdemeanor offense and punished by fines between $500 and $1,000. Up to a year may be spent in jail and for no less than six months your license will be officially revoked.
- Second DWI Offense: A second DWI offense that is accursed within a ten-year timespan will be charged as a felony. No less than $1,000 and up to $5,000 in fines will be expected of you. In addition, you are subject to up to four years of prison time and a minimum one-year license revocation.
- Third DWI Offense: Being arrested for a third DWI offense within ten years is a felony that will be punished by fines of at least $2,000 all the way up to $10,000. Up to seven years may be spent in jail and your license will be under revocation for a minimum of one year.
In addition, your fines will include mandatory conviction surcharges, as well as a crime victims' assistance fee. These costs alone could total hundreds of dollars. Assuming your second or third DWI convictions occur within a five-year period, the penalties of a conviction will be even harsher, regardless of whether or not there was a crash, injuries or fatalities involved.
Overview of a New York DWI
A DWI conviction in New York State may involve a suspended driver's license, fines, and the possibility of jail time. In New York, it's illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, for commercial drivers that number is .04%, and for drivers under 21, the threshold is just .02%.
A New York Aggravated DWI refers to a BAC of .18% or greater, and DWAI/Drug refers to driving while ability impaired by a single drug other than alcohol. The final type of DWI is called a DWAI/Combination, and this refers to driving while ability impaired by the combination of drugs and alcohol.
For a first DWI or (DWAI-Drug), the penalties include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. For DWI, the person's driver's license will be revoked for at least six months, and for DWAI-Drugs, the person's license will be suspended for at least six months. For Aggravated DWI (BAC of .18% or higher), fines range from $1,000 to $2,500, a maximum of 1 year in jail, and a minimum 1 year license revocation.
Under New York's zero tolerance law, drivers under the age of 21 will be fined a $125 civil penalty, and a $100 re-application fee to terminate their suspension. They don't face jail time on a first offense; however, their driver's license will be suspended for six months.
For chemical test refusal, the driver will have to pay a $500 civil penalty, and their driver's license will be automatically revoked for at least one year. If you were arrested for DWI, contact an New York City DWI attorney from Gannes & Musico, LLP at once to discuss how they can help you challenge your charges and potentially help you keep your license.
Contact a New York City DWI Lawyer Today!
If you took a breath or blood test and failed, you may feel as though there is no way of avoiding a conviction. This is simply not the case! By thoroughly investigating all aspects of your arrest, the initial police stop, field sobriety testing and your breath test or blood test, a New York City DWI lawyer can determine whether law enforcement may have made a mistake or violated your rights in any way.
These situations may result in lessened charges, an acquittal in court or possibly dropped DWI/DUI charges altogether. Every case is different, so it is crucial to discuss your unique situation with a knowledgeable New York City DWI attorney at Gannes & Musico, LLP.
Facing DWI charges? Contact a New York City DWI attorney today to start your defense.
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