Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. In NYS, the penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.
Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions:
There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour.
BAC = blood alcohol concentration
|Penalties for Alcohol-related and Drug-related Violations|
|Violation (1)||Mandatory Fine (2)||Maximum
|Mandatory Driver License Action (3)|
|Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (A-DWI)||$1,000 - $2,500||1 year||Revoked for at least one year|
|Second A-DWI in 10 years (E felony)(1)||$1,000 - $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least 18-months (5)|
|Third A-DWI in 10 years (D felony)(1)||$2,000 - $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least 18-months (4,5)|
|Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug)||$500 - $1,000||1 year||DWI-Revoked for at least six months
DWAI-Drugs - Suspended for at least six months
|Second DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)(1)||$1,000 - $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Third DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)(1)||$2,000 - $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year (4)|
|Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination)||$500 - $1,000||1 year||Revoked for at least six months|
|Second DWAI/Combination in 10 years (E felony)(1)||$1,000 - $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year/18 months (5)|
|Third DWAI/Combination in 10 years (D felony)(1)||$2,000 - $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year/18 months (4,5)|
|Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI)||$300 - $500||15 days||Suspended for 90 days|
|Second DWAI violation in 5 years||$500 - $750||30 days||Revoked for at least six months|
|Zero Tolerance Law||$125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension||None||Suspended for six months|
|Second Zero Tolerance Law||$125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee||None||Revoked for one year or until age 21|
|Chemical Test Refusal||$500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers)||None||Revoked for at least one year, 18 months for commercial drivers.|
|Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge/Chemical Test Refusal||$750 civil penalty||None||Revoked for at least 18 months, one-year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21, permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers.|
|Chemical Test Refusal -
Zero Tolerance Law
|$300 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee||None||Revoked for at least one year.|
|Chemical Test Refusal -
Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law
|$750 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee||None||Revoked for at least one year.|
|Driving Under the Influence - (Out-of-State)||N/A||N/A||Revoked for at least 90 days. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year.|
|Driving Under the Influence - (Out-of State) with any previous alcohol-drug violation||N/A||N/A||Revoked for at least 90 days (longer term with certain prior offenses). If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year or until age 21 (longest term).|
If you receive your first conviction for DWI or DWAI and you participate in the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), you can receive a conditional license. The DMV determines if you are eligible for the DDP. A judge can stop your enrollment in the DDP. To get complete information read the DMV brochure, The Drinking Driver Program (PDF document).
The law mandates participation in the DDP, even if the driver is not eligible for a conditional license, for convictions of specific alcohol or drug-related violations, or in specific plea-bargaining situations.
See the DMV brochure, You and the Drinking Driving Laws, for more information about DWI (PDF document).
See a complete list of NYS approved DDP programs available in PDF format.
To get information about driver responsibility assessments and the Driver Responsibility Program, read the FAQs.
Leandra's Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that:
See additional information about Leandra's Law at the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Alcohol, Drugs and DWI page.
Leandra's Law includes the following provisions:
"Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle." The law establishes this new Class E Felony. The law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle.
Ignition Interlock Requirement. A court must sentence a person convicted of either Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle or Aggravated DWI/Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .18 or More to a period of probation or to a conditional discharge. The court must require the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle owned or operated by a person convicted under this law. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least six months.
Driving While Intoxicated. A court that sentences a person for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction on or after August 15, 2010 must impose a conditional discharge or probation. A condition of the sentence must be the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle the person owns or operates. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least six months.
An ignition interlock device connects to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content in the breath of the operator. The device prevents the vehicle from being started until the motorist provides an acceptable breath sample.
If ignition interlock is ordered by a court, the system must be installed on each vehicle the motorist owns or operates. The device must remain installed for at least six months. The ignition interlock restriction will be added to the driver license record even if the license is revoked. The restriction will appear on the back of the driver license document as "interlock device".
Courts and probation departments will direct convicted motorists to vendors for ignition interlock installation. The Web site of the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives provides details on ignition interlock device vendors and information from the manufacturers of the device.