Considered a serious offense in the state, New York imposes tough penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI). These may profoundly affect people’s immediate freedom, as well as their future rights and opportunities. Therefore, it is important for motorists to understand the potential consequences of drunk driving charges in the state.

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, people may be charged with DWI if they operate a motor vehicle and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher. Those with a BAC under the legal limit may also be charged with DWI if there is other evidence of intoxication.

The penalties for a first-time DWI include a mandatory fine of between $500 and $1,000 and a mandatory driver’s license revocation for at least six months. Drivers may also be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail. Should they refuse chemical testing in the process of their arrests, people may also face a civil penalty of $500 and a revocation of their driving privileges for at least one year.

According to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, under Leandra’s Law, the court must impose a period of conditional discharge or probation for any motorist in the state who is convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense. During this period, which is in addition to any other penalties levied, people are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in any motor vehicles they own or operate. Responsibility for the cost of installation, de-installation and monthly monitoring falls to motorists themselves, and they may be ordered to maintain these devices in their vehicles for at least 12 months.