Penalties for Repeat DWI Offenders: Bigger and Badder

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), and driving while impaired by drugs or narcotics, are both illegal everywhere. But in New York State, look out! Penalties get stiffer the more convictions you accumulate.

One Port Chester, New York, man recently found this out the hard way. After numerous arrests and convictions in the Tristate Region, he wound up yet again in a Greenwich, Connecticut court - and this time, the judge threw the book at him. He will spend his next 25 months in prison.

It could happen here. Like most states, New York has "graduated" sentencing, which means that jail time and fines get bigger with each repeat conviction for the same offense. If you are convicted more than once on drunk driving charge, here is what you can expect.

Conviction

Sentence

First DWI conviction

$500 - $1,000 plus fees and assessments. A first DWI conviction can carry a sentence of up to one year in the County Jail.

Second DWI conviction in 10 years

$1,000 - $5,000 plus fees and assessments.
A second DWI conviction in 10 years can carry an indeterminate sentence of up to one and one-third to four years in State Prison. A second DWI conviction in 5 years carries a mandatory sentence of either at least 5 days in County Jail or 30 days of community service.

Third DWI conviction in 10 years

Fines up to $10,000. A third DWI conviction in 10 years can carry up to a maximum indeterminate sentence of two and one-third years to seven years in State Prison.

In cases where injury results, additional fines and prison terms can be expected.

If you are pulled over and charged with DWI (or a DUI in another state), however, don't simply assume that you will be convicted. Circumstances may weigh heavily in the judge's deliberations, such as arrest procedures, lack of a search warrant for a blood test, the training and qualifications of the person administering the test, the use of whole-blood serum, and a lack of probable cause for arrest.

Many defenses are available to those arrested on a DWI charge. If you are involved in such an incident, call a criminal defense lawyer with experience in this area.