New York First-Time DWI Lawyer

A conviction for drunk driving is something virtually everyone understands is something to be avoided whenever possible. Unfortunately, a significant number of motorists are under the false assumption that a first-time conviction for such conduct will not bring especially devastating consequences.  

The fact of the matter is that the potential penalties, even for an initial offense are onerous indeed, and that is why a New York first-time DWI lawyer is invaluable to anyone accused of such a crime. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, contact a capable criminal defense attorney that can defend you.

Fundamentals of New York Drunk Driving Laws

Though the term DUI is common parlance for the criminal charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the New York legislature formally refers to this type of offense as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and/or driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI). While both categories of conduct are related, they differ in severity as well as in the potential sanctions imposed upon conviction.

As provided by NY Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192, a motorist can be found guilty of DWI if their blood alcohol concentration is found to register .08 percent or greater (.04 percent or greater for commercial drivers) or are determined to have demonstrated impaired driving to a substantial extent.

A driver may be charged with aggravated DWI if their blood alcohol content registers .18 or greater or they have engaged in alcohol-impaired driving while a minor 15 years of age or younger was a passenger.

The offense of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) represents a lesser included offense in a DWI case. The distinguishing factor between these charges is the defendant's alleged degree of impairment. DWAI convictions can be obtained if an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle in the manner of a reasonable and prudent driver was shown to be impaired to any extent.

Penalties for First-Time Offenders in New York

Even defendants in first-time DWI or DWAI cases must realize that the penalties to which they are vulnerable can, in fact, be quite severe. As provided by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1193, offenders who have no prior drunk driving convictions can expect DWI fines that reach upwards of $1,000, drivers license suspension of no less than six months and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

First-time DWAI offenders may receive up to 15 days in jail, a 90-day license suspension and a fine of up to $500. DWAI stemming from a combination of alcohol and drugs will yield up to a year in jail, driver's license loss lasting for six months and fines up to $1,000. A qualified New York first-time DUI lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Implied Consent

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1194 articulates the state's implied consent rule, which provides that by virtue of operating a vehicle on New York roads, a motorist has agreed to undergo blood, urine, breath or saliva testing if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to suspect intoxication.

Refusal of such testing can yield additional consequences to those incurred for DWI or DWAI conviction. A first-time refusal of a request to submit to testing will bring a license suspension of one year, together with a monetary fine of $500.

Ripple Effects of DWI/DWAI Convictions

It is most unwise for defendants in a DWI or DWAI case to dismiss or minimize the sanctions to which they are susceptible, thinking that punishments for a first offense will be minimal in nature.

Not only will conviction produce fines, potential jail time and driver's license implications, the existence of a criminal record going forward can negatively impact employment prospects, professional licenses, personal reputation and more. For these reasons, there is no substitute for a skilled New York first-time DWI attorney who will fight to prevent this type of harm.

Contacting a New York First-Time DWI Lawyer 

The implications of an impaired driving conviction are significant and far-reaching, even for individuals who have never faced similar accusations in the past. If you are among those accused of driving while impaired to a dangerous degree, a New York first-time DWI lawyer is prepared to provide the client service and tireless legal defense you deserve.