The police pull you over and accuse you of driving under the influence. This has never happened to you before, and it’s hard for you to believe that it’s happening now. But you know that it’s a very serious accusation and you’re interested in the potential consequences of a first time DUI charge in New York.
The first thing to remember is that DUI accusations are still very far from DUI convictions. The potential penalties only apply if convicted, and drunk driving cases are not nearly as clear-cut as many people often assume. With that in mind, here are some of those potential consequences for a first time arrest.
Your first offense
Technically, the charge is called “Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWIAI). This just means that it applies both to alcohol intoxication and impairment from other drugs, such as medical marijuana. If you are convicted, you could face a mandatory fine that can range from $500 to $1000. The maximum jail term would be for a year. You would also face a mandatory driver’s license suspension, which would see your license revoked for a minimum of six months.
Does it get worse a second time?
As you may suspect, the ramifications get even more serious if this happens for a second time in the next 10 years. It becomes a Class E felony with a mandatory fine between $1,000 and $5,000. The maximum jail term goes up to four years. Your driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of a single year.
One way that you could see stiffer penalties for your first DWI is if it is for aggravated driving while intoxicated. This escalates the charges and the mandatory fine goes up to a range of $1,000 to $2,500. The maximum jail term is a year and the mandatory driver’s license action lasts for a year. Under New York law, an aggravated driving while intoxicated charge will be used for someone whose BAC is at 0.18% or higher, which is more than double the standard legal limit of 0.08%.
As you work your way through this process, be sure you know what criminal defense options you have.