Drunk driving charges carry serious potential penalties and consequences, including criminal penalties and administrative consequences such as license suspension, that it is important to be aware of. The potential penalties and consequences can increase if the accused individual has more than DWI offense and is on their second DWI offense for example. Drunk driving laws are commonly strictly enforced and accused individuals with repeat DWIs may be treated harshly.
Penalties for even the first DWI charge in New York may be harsh. If the accused individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level under the legal limit of .08, they may face only traffic infraction charges for their first and second DWI offense. Penalties and fines, however, including a potential jail sentence and 90-day license suspension for their first offense can have a significant impact on the life of the accused individual. An accused individual's license may be suspended for at least six months for a second offense.
When accused individual's BAC is .08 or higher, penalties and consequences increase significantly because the criminal charges they are facing become felony charges. The penalties increase under New York law for a second DWI offense to up to 4 years in jail; at least 6 months of driver's license revocation; and at least $1,000 in fines. In some circumstances, a third DWI can result in up to 7 years in jail; at least 18 months of driver's license revocation; and at least $2,000 in fines.
As is always the case when an accused individual is facing criminal charges, they are facing serious potential penalties and consequences but also have important criminal defense rights and protections to be familiar with and to know how to assert. A strong criminal defense strategy may be able to reduce criminal charges and the possible penalties and consequences the accused individual is facing or, depending on the circumstances, eliminate them all together which is why it is important for accused individuals to be familiar with their criminal defense options.