Getting caught drinking and driving is bad enough. Getting caught drinking and driving in New York is even worse. The moment you're convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York, you have to prepare for the consequences because they can ruin your life in more ways than one. Let's take a closer look at what's in store for you if you ever get a DWI conviction in New York.
Once convicted of DWI, the court can impose a fine of $500 to $1,000, which already hurts for most people. The Fines do not end there. You will also likely pay more in the form of a mandatory surcharge, crime victim assistance fee, and a DWI-DWAI surcharge.
A DWI conviction in New York would mean the revocation of your driver's license for six months. If you ever want to drive again, you must apply for a new one at the end of those six months.
Jail time or probation
While there is no minimum jail time required for first-time DWI offenders, a court can sentence a person to up to one year in jail, or up to three years probation.
From misdemeanor to felony
A first-time DWI in New York is classified as a misdemeanor. A second DWI conviction, however, is already a felony, which brings with it even harsher penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 and up to four years in state prison.
Installation of ignition interlock device
Anyone convicted of a DWI in New York will also be ordered to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his or her vehicle. The driver will have to blow into the IID to check blood alcohol concentration levels, and if it's below the legal limit, only then will the car start.
The consequences of a DWI conviction are not limited to the penalties that a court can hand down to the offender. There are real-world consequences of a DWI that upends the lives of people.
One such consequence is the ban that some countries impose on travelers who were convicted of a crime. Canada, for instance, denies entry to American citizens who have been convicted of a misdemeanor. Australia implements the same policy.
Your insurance company will also raise your premiums if you are convicted of a DWI. It even has the option to cancel your policy entirely. With your conviction, you are already considered a high-risk driver, and your name will likely be forwarded to the New York Automobile Insurance Plan, which is basically a pool of drivers who have a tough time finding an insurance firm that will give them coverage.
Your professional licenses can also be affected by a DWI conviction in New York or in other state such as Arizona. Your license to practice medicine or law, or broker real estate or securities, may also be suspended or even revoked upon conviction. Even your license to own a gun could be suspended or cancelled as well.
A DWI conviction also means you are going to have a criminal record, even if you're a first-time offender and the conviction was for a misdemeanor. A criminal record has a lasting impact on a person's life. Getting a job, for example, would be very difficult because of your DWI conviction. If you're planning to study in a prestigious university, your college plans could hit a snag because of your criminal record.
A DWI conviction in New York-and anywhere else in the United States, for that matter-can turn your life upside-down. You can avoid falling into this hole by not drinking and driving, but if you ever find yourself facing arrest for a DWI, the best thing you can do is get the services of a DWI lawyer with the skills and experience that will help you avoid a DWI conviction.