New York’s Laws for Impaired Driving

Driving over the legal limit is a big deal with serious consequences. One bad decision can change your life and the lives of others forever. Learn more about the penalties for drunk or impaired driving below.

.06-.07 BAC – Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

  • 1st Offense (traffic infraction) 
  • $300 – $500 fine
  • 15 days jail
  • 90-day suspension

.08 BAC and over – Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

  • 1st Offense (misdemeanor)  
  • $500 – $1,000 fine
  • 1-year jail  
  • 6-month revocation minimum + Ignition Interlock

.18 BAC and over – Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (ADWI)

  • 1st Offense (misdemeanor)  
  • $1,000 – $2,500 fine
  • 1-year jail   
  • 1-year revocation minimum + Ignition Interlock

What happens if you’re under 21 and are convicted of drinking and driving?

If you are not yet 21 and are pulled over for drinking and driving, you will be subject to New York’s Zero Tolerance Law.


New York Zero Tolerance Law

Young drivers are at an even greater risk of being involved in a fatal drunk driving crash. That is why there are strict laws in place to help reduce this danger.

This means if you’re under 21 and your BAC level is between .02-.07, you will be charged and penalized with no excuses.

.02-.07 BAC – Driving After Having Consumed Alcohol

  • 1st Offense (administrative)
  • $125 fine
  • 6-month suspension

Important: you could be charged with Driving While Ability is Impaired (DWAI) if your BAC is .06-.07 BAC – this is at the discretion of the Suffolk County Police Officer.

If your BAC level is .08 and above, you will be charged and sentenced according to New York’s standard over age 21 laws.

Why Doesn’t New York’s Zero Tolerance Law start at .01 BAC level?

There are certain everyday use items that have very small amounts of alcohol in them such as cough medicine or mouth wash. If you’ve recently used them, they could show up on a breathalyzer test at .01 BAC level. That is why the Zero Tolerance Law starts out at .02 BAC – anything over this amount is due to drinking alcoholic beverages.

To learn more about the 2nd & 3rd + violations and penalties, visit the Resources Page under the About Tab.


Standard Penalties for DWI Related Violations

License Suspension

Some charges like DWAI or similar come with a mandatory 6-month license suspension.

Your license will be reinstated after the Suspension period has been served and fees have been paid.

License Revocation

If you are convicted of a Misdemeanor or similar charge, you will subject to a mandatory revocation of at least 6 months. This means you will be completely stripped of your driver’s license and must re-apply to get a new one when your revocation period has ended.


Impaired Driver Program (IDP)

To apply for a conditional license while your regular license is suspended or revoked, you will be required to take the Impaired Driver Program class. This 16-hour, 7-week class is designed to educate, bring greater awareness, and ultimately help you to make the smart decision to never drive impaired again.

You will attend this in person in a classroom setting. Attendees are encouraged to share their stories and learn from the group.


Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Any offense of a Misdemeanor or higher means you will automatically be required to install an IID in your vehicle or any vehicle you operate. This will remain in effect for at least 6 consecutive months from your sentencing date. 

The IID measures your alcohol content level and will not let you operate and drive the vehicle if it detects you have alcohol in your body.

You must be responsible for all the costs and maintenance associated with the IID, and only drive vehicle(s) with one equipped in it.


Chemical Refusal

If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to take a breathalyzer test or get bloodwork done, you will automatically get a license revocation of 1 year along with a fine.


Victim Impact Panel

If you are convicted of a DWI related charge, you may be court ordered to attend a Victim Impact Panel. You will listen to a group of survivors and those personally affected by the death of a loved one due to drunk driving share their stories.

This event serves as a powerful reminder that human lives are on the line and how serious an issue drunk driving really is.  Learn more.