What Happens After my First DWI Offense in New York?


When you get arrested for DWI, you are getting arrested for a misdemeanor but it will still affect your life in many different ways. Throughout New York State, the courts have leeway when it comes to parking tickets or even speeding tickets. A normally good driver can have the option of getting a speeding ticket reduced so that it will not affect their license. But when it comes to DWI, there is no leeway, even for first-time offenders.

What Is DWI?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) for first-time offenders is a misdemeanor offense that occurs when the driver of a car has a blood-alcohol count (BAC) of .08 or over. If you are under the age of 21 and driving while impaired, you only have to have a .02 BAC level to be considered DWI. If your BAC is .18 or higher, then you can be charged with an aggravated DWI misdemeanor. If you have a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle when you have at least a .08 BAC, then your DWI charge becomes a felony.

Your License

A first-offender can be forced to surrender their license to the court when they stand before the judge. However, the state of New York does allow hardship cases to plead with the court to keep their license. If the court allows you to keep your license, you can only drive to the court’s designated locations. If you are pulled over while not driving to one of the designated locations, your license will be immediately confiscated. Commercial driving license holders will also have to surrender their commercial licenses, even if they were charged with DWI while driving their private vehicle.


New York State has fines set in place that will be levied for first-time DWI offenders. Those fines include:

  • $1,000.00 in court costs and $370.00 in court surcharges for misdemeanor charges
  • $2,500.00 in court costs and $400.00 in court surcharges for felony charges
  • $5,000.00 in court costs and $500.00 in court surcharges if you are arrested with a child in the car
  • A driver assessment penalty of $750.00 that is levied on every first-time offender
  • You might be allowed to take part in the impaired driver program, but that will cost you $300.00 if you qualify.
  • Felony charges involving a child also require that you pay $100.00 to have an ignition device installed into your car that will remain in place for at least one year.

The penalties for first-time DWI offenders are stiff in New York State to try and convince first-time offenders to not become repeat offenders. Along with the loss of your license and all of the fees, you will also have to deal with applying for your license after a year and everything that goes along with that process. If you are not approved for a hardship license, then you are going to need to find a way to get around for at least a year, which can be a problem if other people rely on you to get to the places they need to go.

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