DWAI penalties



Driving While Ability Impaired Charge with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) between .05% to .07%

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Minimum Jail Up to 15 days jail Up to 30 days jail Up to 180 days jail
Fines $300 to $500 $500 to $750 $750 to $1,500
Driver’s License 90 days suspension 6 mo revocation, min 6 mo revocation, min

DWAI a not a crime, but a traffic infraction. A person is guilty of DWAI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate that vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol. In addition to the above penalties, you may face the following:

  • You may qualify for the Drinking Driver Program and a conditional license
  • A surcharge of $255
  • An assessment fee from the DMV for driver responsibility of $250 a year for 3 years
  • Required attendance at a Victim Impact Panel
  • 1-3 years probation

Most often, people charged with a DWAI, simply plead guilty to the charge. That is often a mistake. Keep in perspective that DWAI conviction stays on your DMV record for 10 years and can show up on criminal history records as well. This can become an embarrassing hindrance to job opportunities.

A defendant usually has nothing to lose by taking a DWAI case to trial, which is a one day process. A conviction for DWAI requires proof that the defendant was “impaired” by alcohol. An expert attorney will argue that the driver was not impaired by the low amount of alcohol and the case should be dismissed. We will also challenge the accuracy of the breath test. If you have been charged with a DWI or DWAI, call Attorney Travis for a FREE Case evaluation. Trust Travis. You’ll be glad you did.

According to NY State law, a DWAI is coded under Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1192-1.

“Driving while ability impaired. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol.”