NY Driving While Intoxicated Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens if you Refuse the Breathalyzer?

If you refuse the breath test or blood test, the Department of Motor Vehicles will conduct a Refusal Hearing to determine whether you in fact refused the test. If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) finds that you did in fact refuse the test your license will be revoked for 1 year for a first time refusal. See Refusals for more information.

What Happens to your New York Driver’s license after a DWI Arrest?

If you are arrested for DWI for having a BAC of .08 or more your drivers license will be suspended pending prosecution, unless you can prove to the Court that the suspension will cause an "extreme hardship". See Hardship License for more information.

What are the Penalties of a First Time DWI Conviction?

First time offenders that are convicted of DWI can face jail time up to one year, fines of $500 to $1000, the required installation of an ignition interlock device for 1 year, 6 month Revocation of Driver's License. See DWI Sentencing.

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Is It Possible to Get Driving Privileges if a License is Suspended or Revoked for DWI?

Yes. Drivers may be eligible for a Pre-Conviction Conditional License, or a Post-Conviction Conditional License, so long as they are eligible to participate in the Impaired Driver Program (IDP). See Conditional License for more information.

What is the Difference Between DWI and DWAI?

Driving While Intoxicated is an unclassified misdemeanor, and is a crime, whereas Driving While Ability is Impaired by Alcohol is a violation of the law and is not criminal. DWAI is sometimes offered as a plea bargain for DWI, and a conviction for DWAI does not require the installation of an ignition interlock devise, and your license is suspended rather than revoked.


What is the New DWI Law in NY?

The NY State DMV Regulations were changed in 2012, adding new rules designed to impact DWI repeat offenders that for some could result in a 2 year, 5year, or Lifetime Revocation of Driving Privileges at the time a driver applies to have their license reinstated after a revocation. See Repeat Offenders for more information.

What if you are Arrested for Drunk Driving with a Child in the Car?

Leandra's Law, also known as the Child Passenger Protection Act, makes it an automatic Class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison on the first offense for driving drunk with a person age 15 or younger inside the vehicle See Leandras Law for more information.

Can You Get a Conditional License or Hardship License with Commercial Privileges for Work?

CDL holders are no longer eligible for a conditional license or hardship license with commercial privileges even if a court issues a certificate of relief from civil disabilities.

Is "DWI" a Misdemeanor or Felony in NY?

If you are a first time offender, and there were no children in the car, it is a misdemeanor. If, however, you have been convicted of a prior DWI within 10 years of the new arrest, then the new charge is a felony.

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