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In New York, an alcohol related driving offense can be a violation, a misdemeanor or a felony

Driving While Intoxicated involves operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor unless there is a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated within the last 10 years in which case the charge may be a felony, or if there is a passenger in the vehicle 15 years of age or younger in which case you may also be charged as a felony.

A person can also be charged with driving while intoxicated even when the police do not have a blood alcohol level reading, based on other factors that establish intoxication. Driving While Ability Impaired by the consumption involves operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol reading of .05 or greater, but less than .08. This charge is a violation unless there is a prior conviction for driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated within 5 years of the new charge, in which case it could be a misdemeanor.

How the DWI arrest affects your license

If you have been charged with Driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor and you took the breath test, the court will still suspend your privileges to drive for 30 days from the date of the arrest. If you had a valid New York State driver’s license at the time of the arrest, the court may conduct a Hardship Hearing and under certain circumstances issue a Hardship Privilege permitting you to drive your vehicle to and from your place of employment, to and from school, and / or to and from medical appointments, at specified times of the day during the 30 day period suspension period. After 30 days, you should receive a letter from DMV advising that you may go to New York DMV and apply for a new license. Upon conviction of an alcohol related offense, there will be additional suspensions and/ or revocations on the license.

If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated as a misdemeanor, and it is alleged that you refused to take a breath test, the court will suspend your license at arraignment, pending a refusal hearing at DMV. If you fail to show for the refusal hearing or you appear but lose the hearing, your license will be revoked for a minimum 6 months, or 1 year for those under the age of 21 and a civil penalty of at least $300.00.



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