New York DUI Penalties

New York DUI laws and penalties

Each State within the United States is given authority to write their own laws on Driving Under the Influence, or better known as DUI. Within this article we will explore the different laws within the State of New York, and their penalties. To begin with, New York has what is known as a "Lookback Period". This means that the period of time that prior DUI/DWI's will stay on your record for purposes of determining whether a subsequent DUI/DWI will be counted as a first, second, or third offense. New York law is complicated on this issue. Depending on the circumstances, the lookback period can be four, five, ten, or 25 years. This is also known as a "washout" period. 

What constitutes a high BAC for a DUI/DWI in New York?

In New York, this is based on a Per Se DWI, meaning it is solely based on the driver's BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content. Therefore, it does not matter whether or not the driver was actually impaired by alcohol. A motorist can get a DWI in New York with the following BAC levels: 

  • Under 21: .02% or more
  • At least 21: .08% or more 
  • Commercial: .04% or more 

There is never an acceptable time to drink and drive as your vision, reasoning, along with your mental capacity to make important decisions and judgments is severely hindered and are not capable of bouncing back to what you are able to perform without alcohol in your system. Each person is different and their tolerance for alcohol severely unpredictable, making it impossible to say how many drinks are "normal" or not. This is what requires law enforcement to perform chemical tests on suspecting DUI offenders. If you are pulled over and are requested to take a chemical test, New York has an implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC, you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. For refusal of a chemical test, the penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: 1 year license suspension
  • Second Offense: 18 month license suspension with a prior refusal or DWI conviction within the past 5 years
  • Third Offense: 18 month license suspension with a prior refusal or DWI conviction within the past 5 years

What are the penalties within the DUI/DWI New York laws?

There are several penalties within the DUI/DWI New York laws, and we will explore them here in this section. Should you be pulled over and found guilty of Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated within the boarders of the State of New York, the following are the penalties you will be facing:

Penalty of Jail

  • First Offense: no minimum
  • Second Offense: 5 days jail or 30 days minimum community service
  • Third Offense: 10 days jail or 60 days minimum community service

Penalties and Fines

  • First Offense: $500 t0 $1,000
  • Second Offense: $500 to $5,000
  • Third Offense: $500 to $10,000

Penalty of License Suspension

  • First Offense: 6 months minimum
  • Second Offense: 1 year minimum
  • Third Offense: 6 years minimum

Penalty of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) 

An IID is required for each and all levels of offense in convicted DUI/DWI charges, without exception.


It is important to note that laws change, as well as their interpretation and application of them. Due to the fact that there are multiple jurisdictions within a State and each may choose to enforce the law in different ways, it is important to prepare for the unexpected. For this reason it would be in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced and professional lawyer who is well versed in New York DUI/DWI laws and is capable of giving you the direction you need for your specific case, along with being fully aware of the current laws pertaining to DUI. 

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