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What are the consequences of a drunk driving conviction?

If you have been arrested on a drunk driving charge in New York, you may be concerned about your future. A drunk driving conviction comes with a number of consequences, depending on the facts of your case.

Generally, under New York law, it is illegal to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Some drivers have different BAC limits. For example, drivers who are under 21 may violate the Zero Tolerance Law if their BAC is between .02 and .07. Commercial truck drivers have a lower limit of .04.

The penalties you will experience will depend on the number of DWI convictions you have, whether your BAC content was .18 or higher, which can lead to an aggravated DWI charge or whether you refused a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol level.

A first time offender with a blood alcohol content level between .08 and .18 can expect a mandatory fine of $500 to $1000, a maximum of one year in jail and a 6-month license revocation. Aggravated DUIs for first time offenders can increase that fine range to $1,000 to $2,500, with a maximum of one year in prison and a license revocation of one year minimum. A person who gets a second DWI within 10 years will have an increased fine range of $1,000 to $2,500, a maximum of four years in prison and a license revocation for at least one year.

Refusing a chemical test may protect you from jail time, but it will guarantee that you pay a $500 civil penalty and that your license will be revoked for at least a year. Commercial drivers who refuse a test will have to pay a $550 penalty and have their license revoked for a minimum of 18 months.

Source: New York Department of Motor Vehicles, "Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations," accessed on July 31, 2017

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