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New York DWI Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a DWI?

DWI is an acronym for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. Under the “per se” provisions of New York’s DWI statute, intoxicated is defined as having a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .08 or more. You will face the more serious charge of aggravated DWI if you are driving with a BAC of .18 or more.

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What Is the Difference Between a DWI, DUI and DWAI?

DWI means driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, DUI means driving under the influence, and DWAI means driving while ability impaired. The use of these terms varies among states. Some states use the term DUI while others use the term DWI for the same offense—driving while intoxicated. Where states use both terms, DWI is typically the more serious offense based on the level of intoxication. DWAI can refer to driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. It is typically not as serious as a DWI or DUI.

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What Is “BAC”?

BAC is an acronym for blood alcohol content. It refers to the amount of alcohol you have in your blood based on the weight of the alcohol in a certain amount of blood. There are multiple ways to determine BAC to determine if someone has violated DWI laws. The most common way is for law enforcement to use a breathalyzer test. Other tests include a blood test, saliva test or a urine test.

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What Is Implied Consent?

If you drive in New York you have implicitly consented to take a chemical test if you are suspected of driving while intoxicated. The chemical test can be a breath, blood, saliva, or urine test. This means that if you refuse to take a chemical test, you will face significant consequences. The first time you refuse your license will automatically be suspended for 1 year, even if you are not ultimately found to be guilty of DWI. Repeated refusals coupled with DWI convictions will result in the permanent revocation of your license.

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What Are the Penalties for a DWI Conviction?

The first DWI conviction is considered a misdemeanor. Your sentence will include a fine, up to 1 year in jail, and license revocation for a minimum of 6 months. Subsequent convictions will be felonies, and will carry prison sentences of up to 7 years. Other consequences for a felony DWI conviction includes a fine of up to $10,000, probation, installation of ignition lock, and revocation of driver’s license for at least a year.

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What Is Leandra’s Law?

Leandra’s Law provides for stiffer sentencing for those who are convicted of DWI with a child 15 years old or younger in the vehicle. While normally for a first DWI conviction you would be charged with a misdemeanor, if a child is in the car you will automatically be charged with a class E felony. As a result you may be sent to prison for up to four years. In addition an ignition lock will be installed in your car. Furthermore, if you are the parent or guardian of the child in the vehicle, you will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

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What Is a Conditional Driver’s License?

If you are convicted for DWI or DWAI your license may be suspended for at least 6 months and oftentimes up to a year. However, you may be able to receive a conditional driver’s license. With a conditional driver’s license you will be legally permitted to drive to only certain specific places such as court, work, a medical facility, school, your alcohol treatment program, and your child’s daycare.

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What Is Hardship Privilege?

If you are charged with DWI your driving privileges will be suspended before your trial and before your conviction. This is called suspension pending prosecution and typically occurs at arraignment. However, New York law allows you to request hardship driving privilege. In order to be eligible for a hardship privilege, you must show that you meet the eligibility requirements including that you do not have a way to get to work other than by driving yourself. If you feel you qualify for a hardship privilege, it is important that you are represented by a DWI attorney who has experience helping clients in New York courts.

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Still Have Questions? Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates for Help

DWI convictions can have a significant impact on your future. You could end up in prison, your license will be suspended, if you have commercial driver’s license you will lose your job, and you will have a criminal record. The DWI attorneys in New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with DWI, DWAI, as well as other crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of grand larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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