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What factors determine my DUI penalties?

New York drivers who are convicted on DWI charges will likely lose their license for a period of time and could possibly face jail time. However, the severity of the consequences they face will usually depend on certain factors.

One factor that will impact your DWI penalties is whether your blood alcohol concentration was less than the legal limit. Many people think that they will automatically go free if their blood alcohol concentration is less than .08. However, this is not always the case. First, your age and the type of license you have may result in different limits. For example, the legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is only .02. A driver under 21 who drives with a .02 to .07 BAC automatically violates the Zero Tolerance law and will have to pay a civil penalty of $125 and have their license suspended for six months, plus a $100 fee to terminate the suspension. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle also have stricter rules than other adult drivers, and only have a legal limit of .04. It is also important to note that even traditional adult drivers with a BAC level under .08 can be charged with a DWAI, or Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, if they have a BAC of .05 to .07, along with other signs of impairment.

Another factor that may impact your consequences is whether you submitted to a chemical test. Drivers suspected of driving under the influence may be asked to submit to a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test. If the driver refuses, then he or she will pay a $500 fine and lose his or her license for one year. Commercial drivers who refuse to test will be charged $550 and lose their license for 18 months.

A third factor that may impact the penalties dealt to you is the number of DWIs you have on your record. For example, a first-time DWI offender will pay a fine of $500 to $1,000, spend up to one year in jail, and have their license revoked for at least six months. However, an offender who is convicted of his or her third drunk driving offense within a 10-year period will have to pay $2,000 to $10,000 in fines, spend up to seven years in jail, and have hid or her license revoked for a minimum of one year.

DWI cases are rarely cut-and-dry, so it can be helpful to talk to an attorney about the circumstances surrounding your case. Your attorney may be able to get you a lighter sentence or get your charges dismissed entirely.

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