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NYC Criminal Attorney > NYC Criminal Defense > NYC DUI/DWUI/DWAI Attorney


New York law, like those of all other states, criminalizes certain types of conduct when driving is involved, including operating a vehicle while intoxicated. There are actually a number of different types of DUI charges in New York, which can make it confusing for those who are arrested for or charged with this type of offense, so if you were arrested for driving while intoxicated in New York, it is important to contact an experienced NYC DUI/DWUI/DWAI attorney who is familiar with state law and procedure and can help you build a strong defense.

DUI vs. DWAI in New York

In most cases, a person can only be charged with driving while intoxicated if he or she has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. In New York, however, it is possible to be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) even when a person’s BAC is below this legal threshold. As long as a motorist’s BAC is higher than .05 and lower than .07, he or she can be charged with driving while impaired. In fact, it is possible to be arrested for this offense even if a person’s BAC falls below .05 percent if there is other evidence of impairment or if he or she is under the influence of another drug.

Although DWAIs are not considered criminal offenses in New York, but fall under the category of traffic violations, they can still show up on background checks and can come with a two week jail sentence, a three month driver’s license suspension, and a fine of up to $500, so it is still important for defendants to take these violations seriously.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

Although the BAC threshold for intoxication in New York is .08 percent, motorists can be penalized more heavily when their BAC registers as .18 or higher. In these cases, motorists can be charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (AGG DWI), which involves a mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year, a fine of between $1,000 and $1,500, and imprisonment for up to a year. Subsequent AGG DWI convictions are penalized even more heavily, resulting in a $10,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment.

Zero Tolerance Law

New York also has a Zero Tolerance law that applies to underage drivers, who can face DWI charges even if their BAC hasn’t reached .08 percent, as long as it falls somewhere between .02 and .07 percent. Zero Tolerance adjudications are considered civil matters, which means that offenders do not face jail time and the offense will not go on their criminal record. They will, however, have their driver’s license suspended for six months, be required to pay a small fine, and may be required to enroll in the Drinking Driver Program. Subsequent violations are more heavily penalized and could result in a driver’s license being suspended for up to one year, or until the driver turns 21 years old, whichever is longer.

Call Today for Help with Your Case

If you were arrested for driving while under the influence in New York, you could be facing serious charges. To learn more about how an experienced attorney can help with your own case, please call dedicated DUI lawyer Mark I. Cohen, Esq. at 212-732-0002 today.

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"... Mr. Cohen's effort... in everything he has done before the Court, is A-Plus... [R]ecently, in another case... [before me], the result he achieved for his client... was quite impressive." Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


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