What a DWI Will Cost You in the Empire State
Drinking and driving is a serious matter that is dangerous and has a number of harsh penalties. In the state of New York, anyone who is found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above is considered to be in violation of the law, regardless if the traffic stop and arrest occurs in New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, or anywhere else in the state. The penalties for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction are severe and can often have a lasting impact on someone’s life.
Penalties for DWI Offenders in the State of New York
Just like most other states across the country, the state of New York uses a combination of punishments in order to penalize those who have been found guilty of New York DWI. Generally, a combination of jail times, fines, penalties, license suspension, and the possibility of having to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) are the punishments those convicted of drinking and driving must face. First time offenders may be surprised at how harsh the penalties for a first time offense, meaning they have no previous DWI convictions on their record. First time offenders of DUI in the state of New York will face:
- Up to One Year in Jail
- Fines Between $500 and $1,000
- Minimum License Suspension of 6 Months
While these are the penalties for first time offenders, it is important to note repeat offenders often face even harsher penalties. For example, the fines for second time DUI offenders increases to between $1,000 and $5,000 and third time offenders will pay between $2,000 and $10,000.
Implied Consent Law in New York
Like some other states, the state of New York also enforces what is called an “implied consent law.” Essentially, as a condition of having a driver’s license in this state, individuals automatically consent to chemical or other testing in order to determine their BAC during a traffic stop or other driving related incident. Although individuals do have the right to refuse this testing, they will be subject to an automatic license suspension, the length dependent on the number of previous refusals they have:
- First Refusal: One-Year Suspension
- Second Refusal: 18-Month Suspension
- Third Refusal: 18-Month Suspension
What a DWI Will Cost Before Going to Court
When we think about the financial repercussions of DWI, we often focus on the fines that need to be paid. Truthfully the bulk of the cost of DWI in NY occurs before the offenders even goes to court. For example, when drivers are detained for DWI, their car will need to be towed to an impound lot unless the officer allows someone else to come get the vehicle. When offenders are ready or needs to get the car out of impound, they will need to pay all the fines and fees which could range anywhere between a couple hundred to even a couple thousand dollars, depending on the length of time it was stored.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and the arrest, offenders may be held in jail instead of just receiving their court summons and being released. Should they be held, a bail amount will be set for them, which means that amount will need to be paid in order for them to be released from jail. Bail for DWI will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the case but not many individuals have the savings in order to pay for their own bail. In these cases, they will need to borrow money or enlist the help of a bail bondsman in order to pay the bail and be released.
Once being released and receiving a preliminary court date, offenders will likely want to hire a DUI attorney to help represent them during the trial. The state of New York does not allow plea bargaining for DWI charges, which means it is not possible for them to receive a lesser charge like wet reckless in exchange for their guilty plea. Since this is the case, it is important to have a good attorney who can properly represent the client and hopefully have their case dismissed or dropped. A good DWI lawyer in the state of New York will vary in cost, usually between $1,500 and $15,000.
What You Will Pay for DWI After You Are Convicted
If offenders are ultimately found guilty of Driving Under the Influence, they will then need to deal with the number of penalties associated with drinking and driving. As mentioned, each state has its own list of penalties used to punish those who are convicted of DWI and those penalties usually become harsher with the number of previous offenses.
Changes to Car Insurance Cost After a DWI Conviction
After being found guilty of DWI, it is almost 100 percent likely offenders will see an increase in their car insurance rates. Car insurance providers charge a premium for coverage based on the risk the policy holder represents for making a claim. Since drinking and driving is a very risky behavior, a higher premium will be charged in order to cover the increased risk of a claim being made. While it is almost certain the care insurance rate will increase, how much it will increase is dependent on the individual insurance provider and its own calculations and risk management procedures.
Even though the amount of increase an individual will see is based on the provider, New York car insurance companies are among some of the most lenient when it comes to penalizing those who are caught drinking and driving. Generally, policy holders can expect insurance rates to increase by about 48 percent, which will add an average of $93 to $98 onto their monthly premium payments. As mentioned, this amount will vary between providers based on the provider’s calculations.
It is easy to see the cost of DWI charge convictions, when all is said and done, can be astronomical. On the higher end of the spectrum, it is possible for an offender to have to pay $40,000 for the mistake, which does not take into account the lost wages suffered from having to serve jail time or appear in court. In order to avoid this high price tag, do not drink and drive – your wallet and your life will thank you.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.