You’re attending a friend’s party, socializing with friends, partaking of great food and alcoholic beverages, and generally just having a good time. Now the party has ended and it’s time to head home. As you head out the door, a friend stops you and states, “You really shouldn’t drive after you’ve been drinking.” “What’s the big deal?” you ask.
The big deal is that New York has some of the toughest DWI laws and penalties in this nation. Although a first DWI conviction is considered a misdemeanor, it does constitute a crime and therefore does give the driver a criminal record. The penalties that accompany a first time DWI are quite serious and include a fine of at least $500, three years probation, license revocation for six months, and the possibility of spending a year in jail.
Unfortunately if you are convicted of another DWI in New York within ten years of a previous DWI conviction, you are no longer looking at a misdemeanor, but a felony, and the penalties that accompany this conviction are quite severe: a fine of at least $1000 and up to $5000; the loss of your driver’s license for a year; and the possibility of spending four years in state prison.
In September 2012, New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles put into effect new regulations that increased the penalties for those individuals who have five or more alcohol or drug driving related convictions in their lifetime. These individuals are now classified as “persistently dangerous drivers” and as such, are permanently denied a driver’s license. Those individuals who have three or four alcohol or drug driving convictions plus a serious driving offense are also permanently denied a driver’s license. Those drivers with three or four alcohol or drug driving convictions in the last twenty-five years, with a license revoked for an alcohol related offense, but having no serious driving related offenses, will be denied a driver’s license for five years, but not permanently.
When you lose your driver’s license for an extended period of time or permanently, you are definitely placed at a disadvantage in today’s world. Although several metropolitan areas such as New York City have extensive public transportation systems, many others do not. Many people in the state of New York need a driver’s license to be able to drive to work, to drive to doctor’s and other appointments, to drive their children to school, and to drive wherever else is necessary. The loss of a driver’s license can have an enormous negative impact on your life, an impact that can last a long time or last the rest of your life.
While these consequences are extremely serious, it is not the end of the world. A skilled DWI defense lawyer can provide valuable assistance in greatly reducing the impact of a DWI arrest, including helping with driver’s license issues. A skilled DWI defense lawyer can defend you on your charges and possibly uncover factual or legal defenses you may not be aware of. Although DWI laws are numerous and complex, legal assistance from a skilled DWI attorney is available to help address the various issues raised in these cases.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Ryanandlenny.