A DWI Or DWAI Charge Can Be Life-Changing
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have devastating consequences. While a first offense represents a misdemeanor, repeat offenders will likely find themselves facing felony charges. New York law enforcement and prosecutors take these offenses seriously, and you need a strong defense attorney on your side.
At my firm, the Law Office of Lindsey Pieper, I represent clients facing serious criminal charges. From traffic violations to violent crimes, my clients trust me to provide them with strong, effective defense whether I am negotiating with the prosecutor or defending them in court.
DWI Versus DWAI
While many states separate drunk driving charges into driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI), New York uses DWI and DWAI — driving while ability impaired. The distinction is made based on BAC levels. A blood alcohol content between .05 and .07 will typically lead to a charge of DWAI. A BAC of .08 or higher can lead to a charge of DWI.
DWI and DWAI penalties vary based on numerous factors. By comparison:
- DWI first offense: Typically, this results in a fine of between $500 and $1,000, up to one year in jail and a period of probation for three years. Additional fines and surcharges may be applied.
- DWAI first offense: Typically, this results in a fine of between $300 and $500, up to 15 days in jail and a suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days. Additional fines and surcharges may be applied.
Subsequent offenses will result in higher fines and additional penalties.
It is important to note that while drunk driving offenses have historically focused on the consumption of alcohol, the legal language has been broadened in recent years. New definitions typically include drugs — illegal or prescription — and language such as “other evidence of impairment.”
In Rochester or communities throughout New York, if you are facing DWI or DWAI charges, it is critical that you consider your defense as early as possible. Based on your situation, it might be possible to get your charge reduced or dismissed altogether.