In driver’s education classes, new drivers are taught about the dangers and the legal consequences of drunk driving. For many drivers, that is where the education stops. Few drivers fully understand the legal consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol, or the facts about drunk driving or DWI charges. Additionally, many drivers are unaware that there are multiple criminal charges relating to drunk or impaired driving, and the penalties for each of these charges differ.


What is drunk driving? Legally speaking, “drunk driving” means that a driver is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. Intoxication is defined as having a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) level of at least 0.08%. BAC levels are often determined by chemical tests, such as breathalyzer tests, or blood or urine tests. These tests are generally administered when a driver is pulled over or arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Most states have similar charges for drivers that are not technically intoxicated but are suspected of being legally impaired. For example, New York drivers with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.07% are considered impaired and face charges of Driving While Ability Impaired (“DWAI”).

What are the legal consequences for DWI or DWAI charges? The penalties vary by state, but often include fines, court fees, jail time, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and a requirement to attend alcohol education classes. In New York, a first time DWI offender can face any of the following:

  • Up to 1 year in jail;
  • A maximum fine of $1000 plus a mandatory surcharge of $400;
  • At least a 6-month license revocation; and
  • Required installation/maintenance of ignition interlock device for up to 1 year.

If a driver is convicted of intoxicated driving, they face having a permanent criminal record that can potentially affect future employment and college applications, among other things.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, DWAI, or any related charge, call the DWI attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today. Our experienced DWI attorneys understand the complicated laws of DWI charges. There can be serious consequences to drunk driving, potentially including jail time and steep fines. The lawyers at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys have dedicated their careers to defending drivers charged with DWI. We have been successfully representing New York drivers for years and can help you. If you have been charged, call us today. We offer every potential client a free case evaluation and will discuss your case with you now. Contact us today at 1-866-792-7800.

DISCLAIMER: 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 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.