DWI in New York: What Arizona Drivers Need to Know

NY DWI Attorney Arizonans who love to travel should definitely take the time to visit New York State. Beyond New York City, there’s a lot to experience in the Empire State, but it can be difficult to get around without a car. Arizonans who choose to drive in NY would do well to stay sober. While the Grand Canyon State is known for its harsh drunk driving laws, New York’s are no joke. Drivers who think being from out of state means the DWI charge won’t affect them back home are dangerously mistaken. Arizona and New York share information about their respective drivers and infractions they are convicted of. That means a charge of drunk driving and other driving offenses will follow a person home.

An Arizona driver who is charged with drunk driving while in New York should be aware of the consequences and what can be done about them.

The Consequences of a DWI Conviction in NY

Arizona has five levels of drunk driving. New York breaks the offense down to three levels: driving while ability impaired (VTL 1192-1), driving while intoxicated (VTL 1192-2) and aggravated driving while intoxicated (VTL 1192-2a). There is also a Zero Tolerance law for an individual under 21 (see below).

The first level, DWAI, applies to drivers caught with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 to 0.07 percent. Drivers who plead guilty or are convicted of a first offense face:

  • A fine of $300 to $500
  • A $260 to $400 Surcharge
  • Possible jail sentence of up to one year
  • Suspension of driving privileges in NY for 90 days.

A driver caught with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher can be charged with DWI. Penalties for a guilty plea or conviction include:

  • A fine of $500 to $1,000
  • A $260 to $400 Surcharge
  • Possible jail sentence of up to one year
  • Revocation of driving privileges in NY for six months.

A judge could also order the driver to attend a victim impact program and/or pay to install an interlock device.

A driver caught with a BAC level of 0.18 percent or higher can be charged with ADWI. A guilty plea or conviction means facing:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $2,500
  • A $260 to $400 Surcharge
  • Possible prison sentence of up to one year
  • Revocation of driving privileges in NY for one year.

As with DWI, drivers could also be required to attend a victim impact program and/or pay to install an interlock device.

New York’s Zero Tolerance law for drivers prohibits drives under the age of 21 from driving after consuming virtually any amount of alcohol (0.02 percent to 0.07 percent BAC). The penalties include a $125 civil fine and a six-month suspension of driving privileges.

What a DWI in NY Means for an AZ License

As mentioned above, Arizona and New York share information about their respective drivers. Each state participates in what is known as the Driver’s License Compact. As part of this interstate agreement, New York will inform Arizona if a driver has been convicted of drunk driving or any other kind of motor vehicle-related infraction.

It should be noted that while New York State can suspend a New York license, it does not have the power to suspension out-of-state licenses. However, NY can (and likely would) suspend driving privileges in the state for drivers licensed elsewhere. In a situation like this, an Arizona driver would retain the right to drive in all other states except New York. However, participation in the Compact means Arizona could choose to reciprocate a suspension issued in another state—in other words, a suspension of driving privileges in NY could mean a suspension of driving privileges everywhere.

NY DWI Can Impact AZ Auto Insurance

The consequences of a DWI in New York can last for years due in part to the fact that a conviction will appear on an Arizona driving abstract. In Arizona, a drunk driving conviction remains on one’s record for 84 months (seven years) from the date of the offense. Once the conviction is on a driving record, it is only a matter of time before his/her auto insurer notices. The average driver in the U.S. sees a 25 to 35 percent increase in auto insurance rates as a result of a drunk driving conviction, but it’s not uncommon for rates to double or for drivers to lose their insurance altogether.

DWI is a Crime in NY

As with Arizona, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a crime and conviction means having a permanent criminal record. The consequences of a criminal record are serious and extend far beyond one’s driving privilege. Having a criminal record can affect one’s educational and employment opportunities. It can also limit where one can rent or buy a home, as well the right to own a gun or adopt a child. And since New York does not allow for expungement of criminal records, a DWI conviction in NY is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life.

Why AZ Drivers Should Hire a NY Lawyer

A drunk driving charge is serious regardless of which state it occurs in. The financial consequences and risk of jail time alone--along with having a criminal record--should be sufficient to justify hiring an attorney. In the case of a New York DWI charge, there is one more reason. A flight to NY from AZ is long and expensive enough. To have to do so one or more times to fight the charge can get costly quick—not to mention the logistics of getting time off from work and making arrangements to care for pets or kids. The good news is that many courts in New York allow a lawyer to represent a person charged with DWI, meaning the defendant may not have to appear in person during the trial or plea negotiations.

Author Bio

Adam Rosenblum, Esq. is the founder of TrafficTickets.com, a traffic ticket law firm that practices in both New York and New Jersey.

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