Understanding the Difference between DWI and DWAI in New York

Contact Us

Knowing the Terms - DWAI vs DWI

"DWAI vs. DWI:" What are the differences and types of penalties and convictions? A DWI offense means “Driving While Intoxicated,” while the DWAI means “Driving While Ability Impaired.” Both terms describe actions taken when a person drives under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription painkillers.

New York State focuses on the driver’s impairment level when judging the severity of the DWI. If a driver has a blood alcohol content between .04 and .07, or they show evidence that they have been mentally or physically impaired, they can be subject to a DWAI charge.

Driving While Ability Impaired in New York

DWAI charges are considered a criminal law violation. If you’ve been charged with this offense, you need a New York defense attorney experienced in handling DWAI and DWI cases.

What are the Penalties for Conviction?

For a first-time offense, a person with a DWI might face fines between $500 and $1,000. There’s also the potential for up to one year in jail and a minimum six-month loss of driving privileges.

If a second offense occurs within ten years, the mandatory fine will increase from $1,000 to $5,000. The potential prison term is a maximum of four years.

For third offenses, a person might face fines of $10,000, prison sentences of up to seven years, and permanent revocation of their license.

If a person has been convicted of multiple DWIs within the last decade, they might be charged with a felony DWI rather than a misdemeanor. This results in additional fines and potential jail time.

Sobriety Tests

An arresting officer might perform three different types of sobriety tests. The first is a field sobriety test, in which the officer might ask the person to walk a straight line or state the alphabet backward. The next option is a screening test, and the third is a chemical test.

Screening tests are administered using portable breath tests. Chemical tests are designed to detect a person's blood alcohol concentration using their blood. A chemical test must occur within two hours of the arrest.

Can breathalyzers give false readings?

A breath test can produce false readings. Breath sprays, cough syrup, and mouthwashes can all produce false readings. A person’s body temperature can also affect the reading. Depending on the circumstances, a New York State court might throw out the results of a breath test because of their unreliability.

Importance of Hiring Criminal Defense Attorneys That Understand How DWI and DWAI Cases Are Tried in New York

This is part of the reason that hiring a criminal defense attorney is critical. Defense attorneys understand how driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) cases are tried. They can ask the right questions, analyze the facts of your case, and ensure that all the rules were followed when your breath test was administered.

There are several options available for people who have been charged with DWI and DWAI. When you contact an attorney, they can help you understand your options and make the best decision from now on.

Stephen J. Riebling, Jr. and Marcia Payton are criminal defense attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC, located in Westchester County, NY. They have handled countless DWI and DWAI cases, resulting in dismissals and reductions throughout New York State. To learn more about them, the firm, and their approach, please visit Riebling & Payton, PLLC.

Related Posts
  • What Are the Different Types of Drug Crimes in New York Read More
  • Felonies vs Misdemeanors, What's the DIfference? Read More
  • How Long Does a Warrant Last in New York? Read More