In New York, DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) is a traffic infraction, a lower level offense than DWI. In New York, DWAI is not considered a crime, although it is an alcohol-related driving incident. If a suspected DWI offender’s blood alcohol level (BAC) is greater than .05 and less than .08, they can be charged with DWAI. This offense is recognized by statute in New York. In a DWAI case, the court must find that a DWAI offender’s ability to drive was impaired. If a suspected DWAI offender’s BAC is 0.07, that is sufficient on its own to prove a case of DWAI in New York. If a suspected DWAI offender’s BAC is 0.06 or 0.05, the prosecutor in the case must submit additional evidence beyond the BAC to show impairment of driving ability. In DWAI cases, the suspected DWAI offender’s license is not suspended until and unless there is a conviction in the case.
DWAI in New York is punishable not only by a fine, but by imprisonment in a penitentiary or county jail for a term of no more than 15 days. In the event that the suspected DWAI offender has been convicted of a previous DWAI violation within the preceding five years, the DWAI charge remains an infraction but the fine goes up to not less than $500 and no more than $750. The term of incarceration increases as well, this time to no more than 30 days. On the third conviction of DWAI, the charge becomes criminal, a misdemeanor, and the punishment is a fine of no less than $750 and no more than $1500. The jail term for this offense is imprisonment for no more than 180 days in a penitentiary or county jail or both a fine and imprisonment.
In many Watertown, DWAI cases, the suspected DWAI offender chooses to fight the charges in court. This is because of the stiff DWI penalties for a DWAI conviction and the possibility of a 90-day driver’s license suspension which goes along with a first-time DWAI conviction. Also, a DWAI conviction may lead to an increase in the offender’s insurance rates and the conviction might stay on the offender’s record for at least 10 years. Sometimes, DWAI cases are generally easier to win in court because of the distinction between impaired driving and intoxicated driving. In a regular DWI case, the prosecution must prove that the offender was “intoxicated.” In a DWAI case, the prosecutor must prove that the offender was “impaired.” If a suspected DWAI offender has a BAC below 0.08, that is not per se illegal and it is sometimes difficult to prove “impairment.” Intoxication is a greater degree of impairment. In a DWAI case, all the prosecution needs to prove to convict an offender is that the offender’s consumption of alcohol has actually impaired, to any extent, the physical and mental abilities the defendant is expected to possess in order to operate a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.
Many times, the use of a breathalyzer test may play a strong role in whether a suspected DWAI offender can plea bargain in their case. If the suspected offender’s BAC is below 0.07, they might be able to plea bargain for a reduction of the charges with the District Attorney in the case. If a suspected DWAI offender’s BAC is below 0.08, the prosecution in the case must try to prove “impairment” by showing, among other things, that the offender failed field sobriety tests.
The DWI attorneys at the law firm of Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are experienced in handling DWI cases. If you need a lawyer who can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your DWI case, contact the law firm of Nave DWI Defense Attorneys right now for a free case analysis.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.