Wooden table with a glass of liquor and a set of car keys next to it

If you have been arrested for DWI on Long Island or in New York City, working with an experienced DWI defense attorney is essential. At Michael A. Arbeit, P.C., we have extensive experience successfully defending DWI/DWAI cases. Whether this is your first offense or you have prior DWI convictions, we will work to protect your rights and driving privileges. Contact our Freeport office today to learn how we can help. 

About DWI Laws in New York

Driving while intoxicated or DWI means operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher; driving with a BAC of .18 or higher is considered Aggravated DWI. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04, and there is zero tolerance for DWI by minors – the BAC limit for drivers under 21 is .02. 

Notably, a breathalyzer or chemical test is not the sole basis for a DWI charge. You can be arrested based on the observations of law enforcement about your driving, appearance, behavior, the odor of alcohol, or an open container in the vehicle. 

In addition, you can be charged with DWAI (driving while ability impaired) for operating a vehicle with a BAC of .05 to .07 or any detectable alcohol in your system that impairs your ability to drive. You may also face DWAI charges for driving while impaired by a drug, whether street drugs or prescription medication (DWAI-Drug). Finally, driving while impaired by combined alcohol and drugs is a criminal offense that can result in jail time or a prison sentence. 

DWI Penalties in New York

DWI penalties depend on your BAC level and whether you have prior convictions.

A first-offense DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Maximum fine of $1,000
  • Minimum 6-month license revocation
  • Mandatory state surcharge of $400
  • 3-year driver responsibility assessment
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock device for no less than 6 months

Being convicted of a second DWI offense within 10 years is a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, fines up to $5,000, and a minimum 1-year license revocation.

DWAI Penalties

A first-offense DWAI is a traffic infraction punishable by:

  • Up to 15 days in jail
  • Maximum fine of $500
  • 90-day license suspension

A second DWAI infraction within 5 years can result in a 30-day jail sentence, fines up to $750, and minimum 6-month license revocation.

A first-offense DWAI-Drug is a misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
  • Minimum 6-month license suspension 

A second DWAI-Drug offense within 10 years is a felony punishable by a 1-year jail sentence, a maximum fine of $5,000, and a minimum 1-year license revocation. 

A first-offense DWAI-Combined is a misdemeanor punishable by: 

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Maximum fine of $1,000
  • Minimum 6-month license revocation

A second DWAI-Combined offense is a Class E felony that can result in a 4-year jail sentence, fines up to $5,000, and a minimum 1-year license revocation.

Leandra’s Law (Drunk Driving with a Minor)

A parent or guardian who drives drunk while traveling with a passenger 15 years of age or younger will face an Aggravated DWI with a Child Passenger charge, no matter if it is a first offense. This felony offense is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. The charges will be elevated if a child is injured or killed in a DWI accident. 

What is The Implied Consent Rule?

Anyone who holds a driver’s license is subject to New York’s implied consent rule. This means you have agreed to submit to a chemical test of your BAC if requested by law enforcement. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the Department of Motor Vehicles will schedule a Refusal Hearing – an administrative proceeding separate from the criminal proceeding. Your license will be automatically suspended until the hearing date and may be revoked for 1-year. Having an experienced DWI attorney represent you at the Refusal Hearing is the best way to protect your driving privileges while the criminal case is pending. 

How Our Firm Can Help

Being arrested for DWI does not mean you will be convicted, as long as you have the informed legal representation we provide. Once you become our client, we will:

  • Obtain and review the police report
  • Determine whether police had reasonable cause to make an arrest
  • Challenge the results of the breathalyzer or chemical test

Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to prove that the breathalyzer device was not calibrated, the arresting office improperly administered the test, or that the blood or urine specimen taken by law enforcement was contaminated. It may also be possible to show that your alleged impaired driving was due to a health condition or fatigue. If the prosecution has a strong case, we will advise you of your legal options. 

Contact Our Long Island DWI Defense Attorney

Given the consequences of a DWI/DWAI conviction, not the least of which is having a permanent criminal record, working with a capable DWI attorney is a wise choice. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. defends people involved in DWI cases throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City, including Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx.