Potential Consequences of a NY DWI
Most drivers are totally unaware of the potential consequences after being arrested for and/or being later convicted of a New York DWI. Here are some basic things which you need to be aware of:
1. A Conviction for DWI within New York State is a misdemeanor. It is a crime, you become a criminal, and it is on your permanent record. A second offense for DWI or DWAI Drugs within a ten year time frame will be charged as a Class E felony under New York State Law. The minimum level of Blood Alcohol Concentration required for a conviction for operating a commercial vehicle while intoxicated is only a .06 Blood Alcohol Concentration (not a .08 BAC).
2. A Conviction for DWAI (driving while ability impaired) is a traffic violation under the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. It is not a crime. It is a traffic violation. A motorist will be offered only one DWAI within New York State. Any second offense will be treated as a misdemeanor, without exception. The minimum level required for a conviction of operating a commercial vehicle while impaired is only a .04 BAC.
3. A Loss of Your Driver's License or Privileges. A conviction for DWI will result in a revocation of your New York State driver's license for a minimum of six months. A conviction for DWAI will carry a 90 day suspension. If you are a commercial driver, your commercial driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of one year, regardless of the type of vehicle you were operating at the time of arrest. Aggravated DWI (BAC of .18% or greater) will result in a revocation of your New York State driver's license for a minimum of one year.
4. Conditional Driving Privileges are always within the discretion of the New York State DMV. The granting of a conditional license requires attendance at the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), which is a seven week fifteen hour program costing approximately $225. The cost of the conditional license which is given by the DMV is $75. A motorist is entitled to a conditional license only once in a five year period. A conviction of any violation, (except equipment violations), including failure to wear a seatbelt or cell phone violation will result in a revocation of that conditional license for the remainder of the suspension or revocation time period. A conditional license allows a person to travel to/from work, school and/or medical care (for both themselves and the members of their immediate family) and, within the discretion of the New York State DMV, three personal hours of driving per week.
5. Loss of a Professional License. If you are convicted of Felony DWI (after a prior DWI misdemeanor conviction), you will be subject to a loss of your professional licenses. These licenses include, but are not limited to: attorney's bar association licenses, broker's licenses (including real estate, mortgage, and stockbroker), and medical licenses.
6. ANY Refusal to Perform a Breath/Blood/Urine Test when asked by a Police Officer at the scene of a DWI related arrest will result in a NYS DMV Hearing. If a valid refusal is found at the DMV Hearing, it will result in a loss of your New York State driver's license (or privileges if you are an out-of-state driver) for six months and a $750 civil penalty. No conditional license will be permitted after a refusal finding.
7. Possible Jail and/or Probation. A conviction for DWI is punishable by a sentence of up to one year in jail in New York State. It is unlikely for a first time offender to receive a jail sentence. The likelihood of jail increases if there is a personal injury or property damage accident, a reckless driving charge of high speeding, and/or other factors, such as going through a red light in a crowded intersection. If the Court requires probation, probation with a misdemeanor is three years, while felony probation is five years.
8. Increased Insurance Rates. A conviction for DWI in New York State will be sent to your insurance company. Suspension or revocation of your driver's license as a result of an alcohol-related conviction is just cause for your insurance company to cancel your automobile insurance policy. An alcohol-related conviction increases the probability that your insurance company will not renew your present insurance policy. Assuming no other company agrees to offer you insurance, you will be relegated to the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (i.e., the "risk pool") at a substantially higher cost. In general, alcohol-related convictions remain on insurance company records and are used as a factor to determine premiums for between five (5) to ten (10) years.
9. Unable to Visit Canada and/or other countries. If you are convicted of any alcohol-related offense, you may be barred from entering Canada. Canada generally bars any U.S. citizens who have been convicted of a misdemeanor from entering their country. Canada has also been known to exclude individuals convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (VTL §1192, a traffic infraction) from entering the country as well. To obtain entry to Canada following any conviction, you may need to apply for a Minister's Permit with the Canadian Consulate. Approval of this application would allow you to enter into Canada for a short-term visit. An individual convicted of a crime may not obtain long term entry into Canada until at least five years have passed from the date his or her sentence was completed. At that time, he or she may apply to the Canadian Consulate for "rehabilitation." If granted rehabilitation, a U.S. citizen with a criminal record may enter Canada in the same manner as if he or she had no criminal record. The impact of a conviction upon your ability to enter other foreign countries varies from country to country. If being barred from traveling to a particular country could have a negative effect on your business or other dealings, you should inform your attorney so that this aspect of your case may be more thoroughly explored.
10. Gun Permits. If you hold a gun permit, the mere fact that you were arrested may result in an immediate suspension of your right to possess a firearm. If you are convicted of any section of VTL §1192 (DWAI, DWI, and ADWI), a hearing will be held to determine the length of any revocation period. This hearing would be conducted separately from your case and may be before a judge or a judge's law clerk.
If you have questions about a DWI case, call us: 607-229-5184.