You’re probably familiar with the term “DUI” or “DWI”, which most people think of as a blanket term for all charges related to drinking and driving. However, in Hudson Valley, New York, things aren’t quite that simple.
New York is one of the toughest states in the country on impaired or intoxicated driving. As a result, the laws in New York that govern impaired or intoxicated driving are rather complex.
While most states only have one or at most a few categories of charges defining this sort of offense, New York State has five:
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
Aggravated DWI (Driving While Intoxicated, with exacerbating circumstances)
Alcohol-DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired, from alcohol)
Drug-DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired, from drugs)
Combination DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired, from alcohol and drugs)
DWIs and Aggravated DWIs are fairly standard and meet the “drunk driving” definition in most people’s minds. In this article, we’re going to focus on the lesser-known three charges in this list: Alcohol-DWAI, Drug-DWAI, and Combination DWAI.
What Does It Mean If I Am Charged With DWAI In Hudson Valley, New York? What’s The Difference Between DWAI Charges And DWI/DUI Charges?
To understand the difference between DWAI charges and DWI/DUI charges, you just have to think of the difference between the key terms involved. While the key term for a DWI/DUI is “intoxicated”, the key term for a DWAI is “impaired.”
In New York, “impaired” is a less severe category legally than “intoxicated”. To be charged with a DWI, you have to have to be considered legally intoxicated, with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of at least .08%. For an Alcohol-DWAI, on the other hand, you merely have to be deemed impaired, with a BAC of more than .05% but less than .07%.
In addition, DWAIs are specific to the substance that is impairing you, and account for drugs (both illicit and prescription) in addition to alcohol. This means that unlike DWIs, you may be charged with a DWAI without ingesting any alcohol at all. This would be referred to as a Drug-DWAI. You may also be charged with a Combination-DWAI, which means that your impairment is due to both alcohol and drugs.
What Are The Potential Penalties Of A DWAI In Hudson Valley, New York?
DWAIs are generally considered less serious than DWIs and are classified as violations rather than full crimes. However, they still carry significant consequences for those convicted, especially when it comes to Drug-DWAIs and Combination-DWAIs. The potential penalties for DWAIs include:
Fines of up to $500 (plus a mandatory NYS surcharge of $260)
Jail time of up to 15 days
License suspension of up to 90 days
Drug-DWAI And Combination-DWAI:
Fines of up to $1,000 (plus a mandatory NYS surcharge of $400)
Jail time of up to 1 year
Up to 3 years of probation
License revocation of at least 6 months, and potentially more
Like DWIs, repeated DWAIs can lead to more serious potential consequences. Third-offense Drug-DWAIs, for example, are felonies that carry potential penalties including fines of up to $10,000 and prison terms of up to 7 years.
Also like DWIs, the consequences of a DWAI conviction can expand far beyond the courtroom. The extra-legal consequences of a DWAI conviction may include:
Civil lawsuits that may result in tens of thousands of dollars in damages
Social and cultural stigma, both in present and future relationships
Interference with or prohibition from professional licensure and working in certain fields
Complications and negative consequences for undocumented immigrants, as well as those in the process of applying for lawful permanent residency (“green card status”) or citizenship.
The loss of your current job and difficulty getting jobs in the future (due to background checks)
Disqualification from receiving certain benefits (such as, in repeat DWAI felony cases, the right to live in public housing)
While this may seem overwhelming, and while DWAI charges are serious, getting a DWAI charge in Hudson Valley, NY does not have to completely upend your life. There are DWAI lawyers out there who are ready to fight for your future.
If you or a loved one is facing DWI charges in Hudson Valley, New York, Attorney Randall Inniss and the team at The Inniss Firm, PLLC, is here to help. Having spent 22 years as a NY State Trooper, Attorney Inniss has the insider knowledge that you need to help you beat your charges and move on with your life. Reach out today for a free consultation on your case.
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Disclaimer: This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.