Driving While Intoxicated in New York State (DWI)
See the DMV brochure, You and the Drinking Driving Laws, for more information about DWI.

What is DWI?
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. In NYS, the penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.
Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions:

1. the amount of alcohol you drink,
2. the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol,
3. the length of time you drink alcohol,
4. your body weight, and
5. your gender.

There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour.

What are the alcohol and drug-related violations in New York State?
BAC = blood alcohol concentration

• DWI: Driving While Intoxicated; .08 BAC or higher or other evidence of intoxication.
• Aggravated DWI: Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated: .18 BAC or higher.
• DWAI/Alcohol: Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05 BAC to .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
• DWAI/Drug: Driving While Ability Impaired by a single Drug other than alcohol.
• DWAI/Combination: Driving While Ability Impaired by a the Combined Influence or Drugs or Alcohol.
• Chemical Test Refusal: A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine) can receive a driver license revocation of at least one year (18 months for a commercial driver) and must pay a $500 civil penalty ($550 for a driver of commercial vehicles) to apply for a new driver license. A driver who refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI-related charge or previous refusal will have their driver license revoked for at least 18 months (permanent for a commercial driver) and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license. If the driver is under age 21, and refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI-related charge or previous refusal, they will have their driver license revoked for at least one year or until age 21, whichever is longer and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license.
Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.

What are the penalties for Alcohol-related or Drug-related Violations?

Penalties for Alcohol-related and Drug-related Violations
Violation (1) Mandatory Fine (2) Maximum Jail Term Mandatory Driver License Action (3)
Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (A-DWI) $1,000 – $2,500 1 year Revoked for at least one year
Second A-DWI in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 – $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least 18-months (5)
Third A-DWI in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 – $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least 18-months (4,5)
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug) $500 – $1,000 1 year DWI-Revoked for at least six months DWAI-Drugs – Suspended for at least six months
Second DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 – $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least one year
Third DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 – $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least one year (4)
Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination) $500 – $1,000 1 year Revoked for at least six months
Second DWAI/Combination in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 – $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least one year/18 months (5)
Third DWAI/Combination in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 – $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least one year/18 months (4,5)
Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) $300 – $500 15 days Suspended for 90 days
Second DWAI violation in 5 years $500 – $750 30 days Revoked for at least six months
Zero Tolerance Law $125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension None Suspended for six months
Second Zero Tolerance Law $125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee None Revoked for one year or until age 21
Chemical Test Refusal $500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers) None Revoked for at least one year, 18 months for commercial drivers.
Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge/Chemical Test Refusal $750 civil penalty None Revoked for at least 18 months, one-year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21, permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers.
Chemical Test Refusal – Zero Tolerance Law $300 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee None Revoked for at least one year.
Chemical Test Refusal – Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law $750 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee None Revoked for at least one year.
Driving Under the Influence – (Out-of-State) N/A N/A Suspended for 6 months. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year.
Driving Under the Influence – (Out-of State) with any previous alcohol-drug violation N/A N/A Suspended for 6 months. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year or until age 21 (longest term).

1. Greater penalties can also apply for multiple alcohol or drug violations within a 10-year period.
2. Surcharges are added to misdemeanors ($160) and felonies ($270).
3. The driver license penalties for drivers under the age of 21, and for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and other professional drivers, are different.
4. Three or more alcohol or drug-related convictions or refusals within 10 years can result in permanent revocation, with a waiver request permitted after at least 5 years.
5. A driver with an Aggravated DWI violation conviction within the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation if convicted of DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination with the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation.

Can I get a conditional license if I was convicted of DWI or DWAI?
If you receive your first conviction for DWI or DWAI and you participate in the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), you can receive a conditional license. The DMV determines if you are eligible for the DDP. A judge can stop your enrollment in the DDP. To get complete information read the DMV brochure, The Drinking Driver Program.

The law mandates participation in the DDP, even if the driver is not eligible for a conditional license, for convictions of specific alcohol or drug-related violations, or in specific plea-bargaining situations.

You will not be permitted to reduce your DWI conviction by taking a Defensive Driving Course