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New York DUI Law

Of the 1,488 traffic fatalities on New York highways in 2004, about a third of them (419) involved at least one driver over the legal limit (.08).  Additionally, 226 involved drivers who had a BAC of at least twice the legal limit.

Legal Limits

The legal limit is .08, but it is also illegal to drive while under the influence of any combination of drugs and/or alcohol that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Legal Limit Under 21:  If you’re under the age of 21 and have a BAC of between .02 and .07, the state may penalize you with.

Commercial Drivers:  New York sets separate limits for drivers of commercial vehicles. 

Commercial Drivers with between .04 and .06 BAC or Commercial Drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of between .02 and .04 are guilty of driving while impaired.

Commercial Drivers with between .06 and .08 BAC are guilty of driving while intoxicated.

A commercial driver with a prior offense either in or out of the state will have his CDL revoked for one year.  If the commercial driver was carrying hazardous materials, the penalty is increased to three years.

Driving while Impaired

Fines

First Offense:  $300 - $500

Second Offense Within Five Years:  $500 - $750

Third/Subsequent Offenses Within Ten Years: $750 - $1,500

Imprisonment

First Offense: Up to 15 days

Second Offense Within Five Years:  Up to 30 days. 

Third/Subsequent Offenses Within Ten Years: Up to 180 days in prison. 

Driving while Intoxicated

Fines

First Offense:  $500 - $1,000

Second Offense Within 10 Years: $1,000 - $5,000

Third Offense Within 10 Years: $2,000 - $10,000

Imprisonment

First Offense: Up to One Year

Second Offense Within 10 Years: Punishable as a Class E Felony – Up to Four Years

Third Offense Within 10 Years:  Punishable as a Class D Felony – Up to Seven Years

Additional Penalties

Victim’s Impact Program:  At the Court’s discretion, you may be sentenced to attend a single session of a Victim’s Impact Program

Community Service:  For the second offense within 5 years, the court may impose a sanction of 30 days of community service.  For the third and subsequent offenses within 5 years, the court may impose a sanction of 60 days of community service.

Ignition Interlock System:  At the court’s discretion, an ignition interlock system may be applied to any defendant’s car for the period of his probation.  The system will be installed at the expense of the defendant.  This applies only to Albany, Erie, Nassau, Onondaga, Monroe, Westchester and Suffolk Counties.  The statute will expire and be repealed on September 1, 2007.

License Suspensions: The first offense results in a suspension of 90 days.  If the offender was convicted of being under 21 and having a BAC between .02 and .07, the suspension is only 60 days.

License Revocations:  Second Offense in 5 Years results in a revocation of 6 months.

Under the Age of 21 with a BAC of Greater than .08 results in revocation for a year, or until the defendant is 21, whichever is greater.

Presumed Consent

Every person who drives a motor vehicle has consented to take a breath test upon being pulled over.  New York also presumes consent to a chemical test of your saliva, urine, or blood when the officer has reasonable grounds (given the totality of the circumstances) to believe that you have been driving under the influence.

Refusing the Chemical Test

If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, your license will be suspended until an administrative hearing has taken place.  If it takes the state longer than 15 days to execute the hearing, you will receive driving privileges back until the hearing takes place.  If the hearing officer finds against you, your license will be revoked for no less than 6 months.  If this is your second (or subsequent) refusal to submit, or you have already been convicted of DUI, the revocation is for at least a year.  Additionally, for your second refusal, a $300 fine will be imposed.  If you have been convicted of DUI in the last five years and refuse, the fine will be $750.

Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Program

In order to regain limited driving privileges, an offender may participate in the Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Program.  This program allows you to drive to and from work, the program, school, probationary activities, and for a three hour period each day set as set by the program’s coordinators.  The program varies from county to county, and the curriculum is set by the program coordinator.  The program can last for up to eight months.