Aggressive Defense Against DUI/DWI Charges in New York

If you have been arrested for drunk and/or drugged driving in New York, you are at risk for heavy penalties. These penalties are meant to seriously punish offenders for discouraging such behavior in the future to protect the public. Being charged with this offense is not just an ordinary traffic violation; it is set as a crime that carries hefty fines, possible jail time, loss of your driving privileges, and other possible consequences. A conviction will give you a permanent criminal record and may affect your job or employability and, thus, your livelihood.

The laws regarding drunk/drugged driving are complex in New York and may involve increased penalties for “aggravating factors” These include causing an accident, injuries, or death, as well as driving with passengers who are minors. Subsequent offenses within a specific time period of a first offense will also result in increased penalties. While all of this sounds daunting, defenses do exist for these charges based on various factors, from improper police procedure to chemical testing equipment defects and more. You will need the help of a skilled trial lawyer to build such defenses. The Law Offices of Michael Chessa PLLC can put over a decade of trial experience on your side to minimize or avoid criminal consequences.

DUI/DWI Charges in New York
New York law identifies five general types of impaired driving.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) are severe offenses in New York. Understanding the differences between these charges and the potential consequences is essential.

  • DWI: It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in New York. A first-time DWI offense can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $500, and a six-month driver's license suspension. Subsequent violations can result in even more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences and larger fines.

  • DWAI: It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugsin New York. A DWAI charge can be issued with a BAC of 0.05% to 0.07%. A first-time DWAI offense can result in a fine of up to $500 and a 90-day driver's license suspension.

  • DWAI combination: It is known as a DWAI combination if you are charged with both DWI and DWAI. The penalties for a DWAI combination will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and your prior criminal record.

  • Aggravated DWI: An aggravated DWI charge can be issued if you are found to have a BAC of 0.18% or higher. This is considered a more severe offense and can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and a loss of your license for six months or more.

Penalties for the above violations will depend on which type of impaired driving occurred and whether you have prior convictions within a certain number of years. For example, DWAI convictions involving alcohol only may be infractions in first and second convictions within a five-year time period while third convictions may be charged as misdemeanors. 

DWIs and DWAIs involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol are generally charged as misdemeanors in first offenses. For second and third convictions with a 10-year timeframe are generally charged as felonies. Various defenses may be applicable in any DWI. Breathalyzers especially are known to be inaccurate through calibration error and other factors. Other errors can include the administration of the test by non-qualified personnel, lack of chain of custody, medical/health conditions that can skew tests, and more.

Blood Alcohol Concentration: What Is It?

“BAC” may be a term people are familiar with from Law & Order, but they may not realize what it means. BAC measures the amount of alcohol by weight in a person’s blood (measured either directly from a blood sample or indirectly from a breath sample).

Are Blood or Breath Tests Better?

It’s a trick question because many motorists don’t realize you can’t choose which test to take in New York State. BAC tests are selected by the police based on the police’s discretion. Police may choose to submit the motorist to a chemical test, or the motorist may refuse to submit, which has serious consequences.

Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test
and being convicted increases your penalties

A refusal to submit to a chemical test (such as a Breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine sample) carries serious consequences. Your driver’s license will likely be revoked for at least one year if you refuse the test and get convicted, and you will also have to pay at least $500 in civil penalties to the Department of Motor Vehicles in New York.

Contact Our DUI Lawyer Today

Being charged with a DWI or DUI in New York is a serious matter that can have significant consequences. It is important to understand the differences between these charges and the potential outcomes of a conviction. It is also important to be aware of the possible personal and professional consequences of a DWI or DUI charge, such as increased insurance premiums and difficulties finding employment. If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, it is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and explore all available options for your defense. Our experienced New York DWI attorney can help you navigate the legal process and work toward a favorable outcome in your case.


& Trusted



44 Court Street,

Suite 1217

New York 11201

Map Directions