(212) 951-1300

Available 24 hours / 7 days a week  

535 5th Ave #2500
New York, NY 10017

First DWI or DWAI

A charge of DWI or DWAI is often a person’s first experience with the criminal justice system, including many people who never expected to be arrested for anything in their life. 

Under Article 31, Section 1192 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Code, even a first-time DWI or DWAI conviction can negatively affect employment or educational opportunities and result in a host of unpleasant circumstances. A conviction may result in a driver’s license suspension, heavy fines, and possible jail time. After a DWI, car insurance rates will almost certainly rise dramatically.

Thankfully, first-time offenders are usually treated less harshly by the courts than repeat offenders. Charges for first-time offenders are often reduced and sometimes dismissed.

Manhattan First DWI/DWAI Defense Lawyer

At Greco Neyland, PC, our dedicated attorneys will fight for you and strive for the best possible outcome in your case. We may be able to challenge the evidence, including the traffic stop itself as well as the results of drug or alcohol testing. Charges for first-time offenders are sometimes reduced and occasionally dismissed.

We will work for you every step of the way, including helping you with license suspension hearings. Throughout this process, you will benefit from having a skilled Manhattan DWI lawyer with experience as a prosecutor on your side.

Greco Neyland, PC represents clients throughout all five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Contact the experienced New York City DWI lawyers today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.


Information Center for First DWI or DWAI in New York


Back to top

First DWI or DWAI in New York

The crimes of DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DWAI (driving while ability impaired by alcohol and/or drugs) are enumerated in Article 31, Section 1192 of the New York Driving and Traffic Laws. 

Generally, DWI may be charged if a person has a blood-alcohol level (also known as blood-alcohol content, or BAC) of 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood as shown by a chemical analysis of the person’s blood, breath, urine, or saliva; or if the police claim impairment of the ability to drive due to alcohol or drugs.

Even when a person does not meet or exceed the 0.08 threshold for intoxication and tests below 0.08, the person may still be charged with driving while impaired by alcohol.

Law enforcement in New York has the ability to make stops and arrests for DWI not just on public roads, but also on private roads and in parking lots.

For purposes of New York DWI and DWAI laws, “parking lot” is defined as any area of private property, including driveways, which is accessible from a public roadway, which has a capacity to park at least four vehicles, and the property does not contain a one or two family residences.

Thus, if you are out drinking and then go to move your car to another spot of the bar parking lot before getting a ride home with a friend, you can be arrested and charged with DWI or DWAI even if you were on private property the whole time and never went out on the road.


Back to top

Criminal and Civil Penalties for First DWI or DWAI in New York

A first conviction for any offense such as driving while intoxicated by alcohol (DWI), driving while impaired by a drug (DWAI-Drug) or driving while impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol (DWAI-Combination) carries serious consequences. If convicted, you face:

  • Up to a year in jail
  • A fine of $500 to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least 6 months

Some circumstances will lead to your DWI being classified as an “aggravated DWI” even if it is your first offense, such as a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 or above. If convicted of an aggravated DWI as a first offense, you face:

  • Up to a year in jail
  • A fine of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least a year

If you do not meet the standard for ‘intoxicated’, and test below .08 but above .05, you can still be charged with driving while alcohol-impaired. If convicted of driving while alcohol-impaired as a first offense, you face:

  • Up to 15 days in jail
  • A fine of $300 to $500
  • Driver’s license suspension for 90 days

Even if you are not impaired at all by the alcohol, New York has a “zero-tolerance” law for anyone under the age of 21 who drinks even a small amount of alcohol and drives. Only a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 is needed for conviction. If you break law, for your first offense you face:

  • $125 fine plus eventual additional fees to reinstate your driver’s license
  • 6 month driver’s license suspension

Refusing to take a blood-alcohol test, such as a breathalyzer, is against New York’s implied consent law. If convicted of DWI test refusal, for a first offense you face:

  • $500 fine
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least a year

In addition, surcharges and fees typically add hundreds of dollars to any alcohol- or drug-related driving conviction.

If you have a prior conviction in any other state for an offense similar to DWI or DWAI, it will count as a prior conviction under New York law, even if this is your first DWI or DWAI in the state of New York. You will be facing even more serious penalties than the ones listed above.


Back to top

Defenses to First DWI or DWAI Charges in New York

Some defenses may be available to you if you are charged with your first DWI or DWAI in New York City. Some evidence should not be allowed against you in court, such as a breathalyzer or blood test that was administered improperly, or if police obtained evidence illegally, such as if they lacked a valid reason to pull you over or require a breathalyzer test.

In such a case, the prosecution should not be allowed to use that evidence against you in court, and a skilled attorney can help you in excluding tainted evidence.

If the prosecution’s allegation of intoxication or impairment is based on the police officer’s interpretation of your behavior after you registered below 0.08 on the breathalyzer or other blood-alcohol test, you can introduce witnesses to dispute this claim.


Back to top

Resources Related to First DWI or DWAI in New York

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Title VII, Article 31, Section 1192 — Read the New York state law related to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as other laws related to drinking and driving under Article 31 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.

New York State Police Traffic Safety — The NYSP patrol the state’s highways and roads, including those in New York City. NYSP officers also conduct DWI patrols and checkpoints, which must be publicized in advance.

Manhattan NYSP Troop HQ
1 Wards Meadow Loop
New York, NY 10035
Phone: (917) 492-7100

New York DMV Penalties for Alcohol or Drug-Related Violations — The Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on penalties for drunk and drugged driving. The DMV website also allows visitors to download information packets for those who have received a notice of driver’s license suspension for alcohol-related or drug-related offenses.

Stop DWI Criminal Justice Task Force — Visit the website of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to learn more about the Criminal Court Bureau’s continued collaboration with NYPD and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

Find information on the state-funded Stop DWI program, which operates in Manhattan and the rest of New York City. The Stop DWI Criminal Justice Task Form includes representatives from each of the City District Attorney’s Offices, the New York City Police Collision Investigators and DWI NYPD enforcement officers to work together on citywide DWI prosecutions.


Find an Attorney for a First DWI or DWAI in New York City

If you were arrested for DWI or DWAI in New York City, you need an advocate on your side to challenge the charge and fight hard on your behalf. The skilled attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC are experienced in DWI and DWAI defense and will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result in your criminal and civil cases.

We serve clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. We know how important it is for you to maintain your driving privileges and we will do all we can to help you keep your license.

Contact the dedicated lawyers at Greco Neyland, PC today by calling (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation about your first-time DWI charge.

Our Headquarters

building
Greco Neyland, P.C.
Midtown Office (Main): 535 5th Ave #2500
New York, NY 10017

Our Practice Areas

Meet Our Attorneys

Jeff Greco
Jeffery Greco
Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
Read more bullet
Dustan Neyland
Dustan Neyland
A thorough investigation is key to finding every reasonable doubt and getting charges reduced or dismissed for NYC defense attorney Dustan Neyland.
Read more bullet
The National Trial Lawyers

RECENTLY ON OUR BLOG

Follow Us


Our Office

Greco Neyland, PC (212) 951-1300

535 5th Ave #2500
New York
NY
10017




Speak Directly With An Attorney