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Facing DWI charges in New York? Four potential penalties.

Maybe you had a drink or two, maybe you didn't. Regardless, the sight of red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror can send your blood pressure soaring.

Those who are stopped and accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol can benefit from a basic understanding of the types of charges and the penalties that can apply in New York.

What types of charges can a driver get in New York? The New York Department of Motor Vehicles notes that there are a number of different charges that can apply depending on the circumstances. The most commonly known is a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. This charge generally applies to those who are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

If the driver is accused of having a BAC of 0.18 or higher, an aggravated driving while intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) may apply.

What types of criminal penalties come with these charges? A variety of criminal penalties can apply, depending on the details of the allegations. Four of the more common include:

  • Driver's license suspension. This penalty can vary from a 90 day suspension to a six month revocation to a permanent revocation depending on the details of the allegations.
  • Monetary penalty. A first DWI can come with a fine that ranges from $500 to $1,000, a second conviction ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 and a third within ten years results in a fine of up to $10,000. An aggravated DWI conviction comes with stiffer penalties. An initial fine for this conviction can range from $1,000 to $2,500 and a second offense can jump to $5,000.
  • Ignition interlock devices. In some cases, a drunk driving violation can come with a mandatory ignition interlock device requirement. These devices require the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start. The cost of installation and maintenance is generally the driver's responsibility.
  • Imprisonment. Even a first DWI offense can result in one year imprisonment. A second offense can result in up to four years and a third up to seven years. Aggravated DWIs have the same potential jail terms.

In addition to previous offenses, factors like the presence of a child in the vehicle or an accident which results in property damage or injury can also result in increased penalties.

What should I do if I am facing DWI charges in New York? Those facing these charges should take the charges seriously. A charge does not automatically become a conviction. Charges can be fought. Defenses are available that can result in a dismissal of charges.

The right defense strategy depends on the details of each case. Each case is unique. As a result, it is wise for those facing these charges to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your case can help craft a defense to better ensure your rights are protected.

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