Aggravated DWI/DUI in NY and NJ: What You Need to Know


Defense for Aggravated DWI/DUI in New York and New Jersey

In New York and New Jersey, anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08% violates DWI/DUI laws and may be arrested for driving while intoxicated. New York uses DWI to label these charges, while New Jersey uses DUI. Although any DWI or DUI charge can result in serious consequences, certain circumstances lead to enhanced penalties, often referred to as Aggravated DWI/DUI. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with Aggravated DWI or DUI, The Gallucci Law Firm will navigate your case with dedication and expertise. Learn more below about what to expect if you or someone you love has been arrested for Aggravated DWI/DUI and the next steps you must take to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

What is Aggravated DWI/DUI?

Each state has specific DWI laws, however, most jurisdictions impose additional penalties for certain offenses. For example, if you are caught driving with a BAC significantly higher than the legal 0.08% limit, you may be charged with Aggravated DWI/DUI. The same rules also apply if you were involved in a car accident, traveled through a school zone, or have previously been convicted of DWI/DUI. 

What is the Difference Between an Aggravated DWI and DWI?

Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher and no prior convictions will face a DWI/DUI charge. On the other hand, if the driver had a BAC greater than 0.18% in New York or 0.15% in New Jersey, a standard DWI/DUI charge could be elevated to an Aggravated DWI/DUI charge. Aggravated DWI/DUI carries much harsher penalties, including larger fines, a far longer license suspension, and a lengthier jail sentence.

What Factors Lead to an Aggravated DWI/DUI in NY and NJ?

There are certain situations where a typical DWI or DUI charge is accompanied by additional penalties that can be devastating and have a greater impact on your life. These aggravating factors can elevate a standard DWI/DUI charge and may lead to more severe consequences in your DWI/DUI case in New York or New Jersey:

  • The driver also committed another traffic-related crime at the time of the offense (for example, reckless driving)
  • A passenger or other individual was killed as a result of an accident
  • The driver has previously been convicted of driving while intoxicated
  • The driver would not blow into the Breathalyzer at the scene
  • A minor or child was present at the time of the incident
  • The driver caused an accident
  • The driver traveled through a school zone or school crossing while intoxicated

Felony Aggravated DWI

In most cases, DWI is classified as a misdemeanor. However, if you are charged with an Aggravated DWI, you may be convicted of a felony. Prior convictions of alcohol-related offenses (other than Driving While Ability Impaired) will affect future DWI charges. A driver who commits an additional Aggravated DWI within 10 years of a prior conviction or convictions for an alcohol-related offense (other than DWAI) will be charged with a Felony Aggravated DWI in New York. The “Class” of Felony assigned to your case depends on how many prior convictions you have. The Felony Aggravated DWI is a type of repeat offender charge intended to punish drivers who continue to commit alcohol-related offenses. Felony fines, loss of license, and jail time can be very significant, which is why it is so important to work with a criminal defense attorney who will analyze all of the details of your case and prior convictions while fighting for the best possible outcome. 

Aggravated DWI with a Child in the Vehicle

Another variation of Aggravated DWI is the Aggravated DWI – Child in Car charge. The Aggravated DWI – Child in Car charge means that a driver has committed a DWI or DWAI while a minor under the age of 16 was present in the car. Even a first-time conviction for this charge is a felony. In New York, the penalties for an Aggravated DWI – Child in Car charge include installation of an interlock device in your vehicle, a five-year probation period, at least a one-year license revocation, a fine up to $10,000, and up to seven years in prison.

What are the Penalties for Aggravated DWI/DUI?

Penalties for Aggravated DWI/DUI will vary state by state. The penalties imposed depend on which type of Aggravated DWI/DUI the defendant is convicted of and whether the defendant has prior impaired driving convictions. Learn more about the penalties associated with Aggravated DWI/DUI in New York and New Jersey below.

Penalties for Aggravated DWI in New York

Aggravated DWI in New York means that the driver has a BAC of 0.18% or more, and is codified in VTL 1192.2-a. The following penalties are possible:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Probation for up to three years
  • A fine no less than $1,000 and up to $2,500
  • A one-year license revocation
  • Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel

Other non-criminal penalties include:

  • A $250 per year assessment through the DMV for three years
  • A $395 surcharge in court

Penalties for Aggravated DUI in New Jersey

In New Jersey, Aggravated DUI means that the driver has a BAC of 0.15% or more, and the penalties for this charge may include any of the following:

  • A jail sentence of up to 30 days
  • Losing one’s driver’s license for a period of between seven months and one year
  • A fine ranging from $300 to $500
  • Completing twelve to forty-eight hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle (if the driver’s blood alcohol content is more than 0.15%)

What is Considered When Crafting a Defense Against an Aggravated DWI/DUI Charge?

In New York and New Jersey, all intoxicated driving charges are serious. Any type of conviction can potentially affect your driving privileges, result in fines, and carry other penalties. If you are convicted of Aggravated DWI or DUI, you will face even more serious consequences. The good news is that you have rights, and one of these rights is to have a lawyer fight for you. At The Gallucci Law Firm, we will review your unique case and help you build a strong defense against Aggravated DWI or DUI charges. Working with an expert in this area of criminal defense will help ensure that your case is navigated with expertise and that all the proper steps are taken. 

When you work with Mario Gallucci, he will sit down with you to discuss the circumstances surrounding the incident, all of your legal options, and the best way to move forward. If appropriate, we will challenge the results of BAC testing, the behavior of the arresting officer, and any other questionable evidence presented by the state. Depending on the situation, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with prosecutors to limit the damage to your future. 

How Much Does it Cost for an Aggravated DWI Attorney in NY?

Aside from incurring fines, increased insurance rates, and other fees associated with Aggravated DWI/DUI charges, you will need to consider the costs of hiring an Aggravated DWI/DUI attorney to defend you in court. You should always seek the most qualified legal counsel you can afford when facing Aggravated DWI/DUI charges, as this is a severe charge that needs to be handled with care. Costs will depend on the specifics of your case, including any criminal charges and what took place during the defendant’s arrest. 

DWI and DUI Defense from The Gallucci Law Firm

Mario Gallucci is a top criminal defense attorney in Staten Island, NY, with over 30 years of experience in criminal law. He has handled and won some of the largest and most difficult criminal cases in New York, New Jersey, and the Federal Courts, including those related to Aggravated DWI and DUI. We are proud to serve those facing a wide range of charges throughout New York and New Jersey, and we want to defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for your case. When you choose The Gallucci Law Firm, our team will develop a personalized strategy catered to you, keeping your best interests in mind at all times. Contact us for more information about our legal services or to schedule a free consultation today!


New York Department of Motor Vehicles
New York State Unified Court System

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