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May 19, 2023

DUI vs. DWI in New York: Understanding the Key Differences and Penalties

DUI vs. DWI in New York: Understanding the Key Differences and Penalties

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are two criminal charges related to impaired driving in New York. Although the two charges are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two.

In New York, a DUI charge is used to describe a driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .05 and .07. A DWI charge is used to describe a driver who has a BAC of .08 or higher. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192).

DWI is considered the more serious charge of the two, as it involves a higher BAC level.

The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York are more severe than for a DUI. For example, a first-time DWI offense can result in fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and a driver's license suspension for up to six months. A first-time DUI offense can result in fines of up to $500, up to 15 days in jail, and a driver's license suspension for up to three months. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1193).

A DUI charge in New York is also known as a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) charge. This charge can also apply to drivers who are impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192).

There are also separate charges for drivers who are under the age of 21 and have any level of alcohol in their system. This charge is known as a Zero Tolerance Law violation. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192-a).

The penalties for a Zero Tolerance Law violation include fines, mandatory participation in an alcohol education program, and a driver's license suspension for at least six months.

In addition to criminal charges, drivers who are arrested for DUI or DWI in New York can also face administrative penalties from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These penalties can include license revocation, fines, and mandatory alcohol education programs. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194).

The DMV can also require drivers to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. This device requires the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting the car, and can prevent the car from starting if alcohol is detected in their system. (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1198).

Joseph D. Nohavicka Esquire, a criminal defense attorney and partner at Pardalis & Nohavicka, LLP, explains the potential consequences of a DWI conviction in New York: "If you are convicted of a DWI in New York, you could face jail time, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record. You may also lose your driver's license, which can affect your ability to work and support yourself and your family."

In some cases, a driver may face both DUI and DWI charges in New York, depending on the circumstances of their arrest. For example, a driver who has a BAC of .08 or higher and is also impaired by drugs could face both charges.

The penalties for DUI and DWI in New York can be even more severe for repeat offenders. A second DWI offense can result in fines of up to $5,000, up to four years in jail, and a driver's license suspension for at least one year. A third DWI offense is considered a felony, and can result in fines of up to $10,000, up to seven years in jail, and a driver's license permanently revoked.

If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge in New York, an attorney can help you navigate the process and may be able to help mitigate the penalties. For help with your DUI or DWI, call Pardalis & Nohavicka.

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