It is a common understanding that driving under the influence (DUI) is an offense in New York. But few many drivers lack the knowledge of what DUI laws mean. Since drunk driving laws may differ from one state to another, it is essential to familiarize yourself with these laws that apply to New York drivers.

DUI, DWI, and DWAI in New york

In new york DUI-related charges, there are several distinctions you need to understand. Knowing what these terms mean, their differences, and the penalties for each is essential to defend yourself better if ever involved in any of the charges in New York.

Driving under the influence is one of the most common car accident causes in New York, which is why stay sober NY while driving is encouraged. Getting a DUI charge attracts harsh penalties such as revocation of the license and jail term. DWI means driving while intoxicated and commonly refers to drivers driving while impaired by alcohol. The blood alcohol content (BAC) of a driver in new york should be less than 0.08%, the legal limit of driving while intoxicated in the state.

DWAI means driving while ability impaired, whereby the BAC level can be under the legal limit of 0.08%, but still, the driver is found impaired with alcohol or drugs. DWAI is a less severe offense than DWI unless the person caused an accident, damaged property, or caused significant damages due to the impairment.

DUI means driving under the influence, which means driving while impaired by not only alcohol but by other drug substances such as marijuana and prescription drugs, including hydrocodone. New York uses DUI as a broad term that refers to various types of driving while impaired. These are serious offenses that can attract a jail term, fine, and other penalties.

New York charges for DWI

  • The first offense attracts a fine of $500-1000, and the license is revoked for at least 6months.
  • The second office attracts a 5days jail term or 30days of community service if the other DWI offense occurred within the past five years.
  • The third offense attracts 10days jail term or 30 days of community service if the other two DWI offenses occurred within the last five years.

New York charges for DWAI

  • The first offense attracts a jail term of up to 1year, license revocation of up to 6months, and a fine of $500-1000.
  • Aggravated DWAI attracts a mandatory fine of $1000-2500, license revocation of up to 1year, and up to a one-year jail term.
  • In less than five years, a second DWAI offense attracts a fine of $500-750, jail term of up to 30days, and license revocation for at least six months.
  • Chemical test refusal attracts a fine of $500 and license revocation for one year and 18months for commercial drivers.
  • More penalties apply if a driver is charged with multiple alcohol and drug-related driving offenses over a 25years period.
  • Permanent license revocation is also possible if one is charged with three or more alcohol and drug-related driving charges throughout 10years.


DUI charges are often worse than DWAI offenses. Being arrested is not the same as a conviction. An arrest involves being pulled over for a DUI test while conviction occurs at the climax of your court session by a judge. New York law provides that a driver’s license can be revoked for life if involved in repeated DUI offenses.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.