New York DWI Laws
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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In the state of New York, drunk driving or driving under the influence is a crime that carries severe penalties, and when drivers get caught a second or third time for a DWI they receive a felony conviction on their record. Cracking down on DWI drivers protects everyone, and for repeat offenders the fines and penalties get progressively more severe.
Basic DWI Laws for the State of New York
As in all other states, the blood alcohol limit (BAC) for intoxicated status in New York is .08 percent. It is illegal to operate any motor vehicle while under the influence or alcohol or drugs. A field sobriety test or other means might be used to test the level of impairment, since individuals may be considered impaired at BAC levels below .08 percent. It is also illegal to operate any motor vehicle with a BAC at or above .08 percent, regardless of whether the individual is impaired or not. A driver can be arrested for a DWI based on evidence other than a high BAC level, but the evidence will need to be substantial. A driver can also be arrested for an aggravated DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), if their BAC is .18 percent or higher.
Drivers in New York consent to have their BAC tested when they accept their driver’s license, and this is called the Implied Consent law. If a person refuses the testing, they are subject to a possible minimum 12-month license suspension and will need to pay $500 to get their license back. The arresting officer is required to inform the driver of the penalties for refusing the test. If a driver is arrested and refuses the test again within a 5-year period, the license fee rises to $750, and the suspension period increases to 18 months.
New York also enforces the Zero Tolerance law, which will give a DWI conviction to any minor who is caught with a BAC of .02 percent to .07 percent.
DWI Penalties Associated With a Driving under the influence conviction in New York
Drivers can be convicted if their BAC is between .05 and .07 percent, or if they have other signs of impairment. This will get them a fine of $300 to $500, plus up to 15 days of jail time and a 3-month license suspension.
For first offenders with a BAC that is higher than the legal limit of .08 percent or higher, fines are set at $500 to $1,000, with up to 12 months of jail time and a license suspension of a minimum of 6 months. Second offenders are considered drivers who have already had another DWI conviction within the last 10 years, and this will cost them from $1,000 to $5,000, as well as up to 4 years of jail time. They will also lose their license for at least 12 months and have a class E felony on their record.
If a driver commits a third DWI offense within a 10-year period, their crime will be considered a class D felony. Convicted drivers will be assessed fines from $2,000 to $10,000 and a maximum of 7 years in jail. They will also lose their license for a minimum of 12 months. If an individual is convicted of an aggravated DWI, they will have similar fines and jail time, but will lose their license for 6 additional months.
SR-22 Requirements in the State of New York
The state of New York requires drivers convicted of a DWI to keep an SR-22 insurance policy in force for 3 years. The driver will be required to find an insurance company who will complete and file the SR-22 certificate and then provide them with a liability insurance policy. The policy must provide at least the minimum liability coverage that is mandated by the state. In addition, the driver must not cancel the policy or let it lapse, because the insurance company will then be required to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and inform them that the driver is on the road with out insurance coverage. This will result in an immediate suspension of the driver’s license, and they will need to pay a fee and have an SR-22 re-filed in order to get their driving privileges back. Additionally, the 3-year holding period for the SR-22 insurance will start over again from the beginning.
Effects of a DWI on the Cost of Car Insurance
In the state of New York, a DWI conviction will stay on a driver’s record for 10 years. With this mark on their record, a driver will need to find high risk car insurance companies, which will have an immediate negative effect on their insurance rates. Some may be able to stay with their current insurer after having them file the SR-22 certificate and revising their policy. Other drivers may find their insurance company cancels their policy. Some insurance companies do not write SR-22 policies, so a person will be required to switch companies in order to get coverage.
New York Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers
Affordable insurance may be more challenging to find once a driver has a DWI on their record. Insurance companies have to consider many other factors besides a DWI, however, such as previous good driving history. In addition, each insurance company has their own statistical modeling to calculate the rates they offer their customers, so rates may vary quite a bit from one company to another. For these reasons, it is important to get quotes from several insurance companies to compare coverages and pricing to find a policy with the right balance of both.