An Introduction to New York DWI Laws

Under New York state law, a driver with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or above is automatically considered legally drunk and can be charged with driving while intoxicated. This article provides a brief overview of some New York DWI laws that every driver should know.

Refusal of BAC Testing

If the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving, they may ask you to take a breathalyzer or blood test to establish your BAC level. Regardless of your actual BAC level, refusing to take the test can have serious consequences. If you refuse a BAC test in New York, you will automatically lose your driver's license for at least one year for a first offense, or at least 18 months for a second offense. In addition, you will be fined $500 for a first offense, or $750 for a second offense. The penalties for refusing a BAC test are in addition to, not in place of, any other penalties you may face for DWI.

New York "Zero Tolerance" DWI Law

Under the "Zero Tolerance" law in New York, people under the age of 21 may not drive after consuming any amount of alcohol, even if their BAC stays well below 0.08 percent. Drivers under age 21 who are found to have a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07 percent can have their licenses suspended for six months and may be required to pay a total of $225 in penalties and fees. Along with additional fines, a repeat offense will trigger a second license suspension of at least one year, or until the driver reaches age 21, whichever is longer. Drivers under age 21 who refuse to take a BAC test face a one-year license suspension and $125 fine in addition to any other DWI penalties.

First-Time DWI Penalties in New York

Drivers convicted of a first-time DWI offense in New York can face a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000, along with other fees and expenses. In addition, a first-time DWI conviction in New York carries a license revocation of 90 days for drivers age 21 or older, and a license revocation of six months for those under age 21.

If you or a family member has been charged with DWI in New York, contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer for help defending against the charges.