A New York police officer pulling you over is enough to spike your anxiety level for sure. If a traffic stop occurs on your way home after dining out with friends and having a few drinks, you have good reason to be concerned, especially if the reason for the stop has to do with suspected DWI. It’s important to understand how a DWI charge (or worse, a conviction) may affect your driving record and your life.
The first thing to know is that the police can still arrest you for DWI after only having one alcoholic beverage, or, for that matter, none – the police have taken many sober people into custody for DWI. It’s also wise to remember that a charge for a crime will have immediate and possibly far-reaching implications.
You’ll lose your license for at least 6 months after DWI conviction in New York
New York issues stiff penalties for driving while impaired. On a first offense, you’ll incur a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension, but it may be longer. In fact, a judge can sentence you to jail for up to one year following a first-offense DWI conviction. You might also incur fines up to $1,000.
If you’re a commercial driver, a first-offense conviction will activate a CDL suspension of at least one year. If you were hauling hazardous materials when an officer pulled you over, the suspension will last three years. Not only is this bad for your driving record, but it could also impede your ability to earn a living.
Multiple DWI convictions could mean years behind bars
If a New York court convicts you of DWI multiple times within a 10-year period, you could go to jail for five years or more. Fines at this stage may increase up to $10,000 after a third offense.
Refusing a chemical test following a DWI arrest
Your arrest may affect your driving record even before your DWI case goes to trial in New York. For example, if you refuse to take a chemical test following your arrest, you will face an automatic driver’s license suspension for at least 12 months. You will also have to pay a civil penalty and re-application fee if you want your license back.
Level of charges and DWI defense are key factors
In certain cases, charges for DWI may be “aggravated,” which would then place you at risk for severe penalties. If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision and someone suffered injuries or died, you could face vehicular assault or homicide charges as well.
It’s always best to secure criminal defense support if New York police have taken you into custody for suspected DWI. While such situations are stressful, it’s wise to remember that you have rights and deserve not only due process but also a fair outcome.