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New York DWAI Lawyer

Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) in New York is a legal charge that pertains to operating a motor vehicle while the driver's ability is impaired to any extent by the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Unlike Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), DWAI involves a lower level of impairment but is still considered a serious traffic offense under New York law. If you are charged with DWAI, you face the possibility of incarceration, license suspension, and fines. Navigating the complexities of the legal system requires the expertise of a knowledgeable attorney who can provide guidance, assess the specifics of the case, and advocate for the best possible outcome. If you find yourself in this situation, contact an experienced New York DWAI lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates who can help ensure that your rights are protected, and work towards the most favorable resolution for your case.

What a DWAI Is

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192(1), states that “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol.”

In New York, DWAI charges can stem from various factors, including a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05% and 0.07%. While this range is lower than the 0.08% threshold for a DWI charge, it signifies impairment that is deemed unsafe for driving. Additionally, impairment due to the use of drugs, whether prescription or illicit, can also lead to a DWAI charge.

DWAI offenses are typically classified as traffic infractions or misdemeanors, with varying degrees of severity based on factors such as prior convictions, the level of impairment, and other circumstances. Conviction for a DWAI offense can result in penalties that impact various aspects of an individual's life.

Proving DWAI

When determining if a person’s ability to drive has been impaired, law enforcement will consider the following factors:

  • The driver’s physical condition and appearance
  • The driver’s balance, coordination and any slurred speech
  • The presence or absence of an odor of alcohol
  • The manner in which a driver operated the car; and/or
  • Any breath test results

Note that DWAI prosecutions are subject to New York’s speedy trial rules.In People v. Mahmood, 10 Misc. 3d 198 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. 2005), the defendant faced charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (VTL § 1192), an unclassified misdemeanor, and operating a motor vehicle while impaired (VTL § 1192), a traffic infraction. The defendant moved to dismiss the criminal court complaint, claiming a violation of time limitations for misdemeanor prosecution and asserting a denial of the right to a speedy trial. In New York, misdemeanor prosecutions are subject to time limitations. The prosecution may face dismissal if it fails to meet this deadline, unless certain excluded periods apply.

The People initially dismissed VTL § 1192(3) but retained VTL § 1192(1). The court, agreeing with the People's concession, ruled against the defendant's motion, emphasizing that the constitutional speedy trial time for the traffic infraction was 60 days when a misdemeanor charge was initially present on the docket.

Penalties for New York DWAI

The penalties for DWAI convictions in New York vary based on the number of offenses and the specific circumstances.

First DWAI Offense in NY
  • Fines: Between $500 and $1,000.
  • Jail Term: Up to one year.
  • License Suspension: A minimum of six months.
  • New York VTL § 1192(1)
Second DWAI Offense in NY (Within Ten Years of the First Offense)
  • Mandatory Fine: Increases from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Maximum Prison Term: Up to four years.
  • New York VTL § 1193(1)(b)
Third DWAI Offense in NY
  • Fines: Up to $10,000.
  • Maximum Prison Term: Up to seven years.
  • License Revocation: Permanent revocation of the driver's license.
  • New York VTL § 1192(1).

Given the potential consequences of a DWAI conviction, if you are facing such charges contact an experienced DWAI attorney in New York who can assess the details of the case, explore potential defenses, and work towards minimizing the impact of the charges.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or someone you know is facing a DWAI charge in New York, seeking experienced legal representation is not just an option—it's a necessity. The seasoned DWAI attorneys serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates are dedicated to assisting individuals in understanding their rights, building a robust defense, and working towards the most favorable resolution. Don't navigate the complexities of a DWAI charge alone; enlist the support of experienced legal professionals who can safeguard your interests and guide you through this challenging legal process. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your situation. We serve clients in Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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