Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations.


Driving while intoxicated is a crime. 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:

  • the amount of alcohol you drink
  • the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol
  • the length of time you drink alcohol
  • your body weight
  • 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. Types of alcohol and drug-related violations in New York State.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. A second DWI conviction within ten years will be a felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.


For drivers of commercial motor vehicles: .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) .18 BAC or higher.

Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol) More than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.

Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug).

Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination).

Chemical Test Refusal A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine).

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.

In New York State, the penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.

Additional penalties: Greater penalties can also apply for multiple alcohol or drug violations within a 25-year period. Surcharges are added to alcohol-related misdemeanors ($260) and felonies (generally $400, but varies slightly depending on court of conviction). 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 five years. 


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. Also, a driver with a prior DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination with the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation.

A driver convicted of an Aggravated DWI, DWI, DWAI/Drug, DWAI/combination, vehicular assault and aggravated vehicular assault, or vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide three or more times in the preceding 15 year period is guilty of a Class D felony punishable up to seven years in state prison.




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