New York’s crimes are typically divided into two forms of each crime: the standard offense, and an “aggravated” version. Each aggravated crime has specific factors or requirements that turn the “simple” crime into the aggravated form. For driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are actually multiple levels. Aggravated DWI is the most severe form of DWI and involves driving drunk with a child in your car or driving with a very high level of alcohol in your system.
If you or a loved one was charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, or another drunk or drugged driving offense in New York, talk to an attorney. The Queens DWI defense attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw may be able to take your case and fight your charges. Because aggravated DWI can result in jail time, a suspended drivers’ license, and other consequences, talk to an attorney right away.
New York DWI Laws
New York has three general levels of drunk driving offenses:
- Driving while ability impaired (DWAI) under New York Traffic Law § 1192(1) is the offense of driving while your abilities are reduced because of the effects of drugs, alcohol, or a combination the two.
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) under § 1192(2) and (3) is the offense of driving while legally “intoxicated,” or with a BAC over .08%.
- Aggravated DWI under § 1192(2-a) is the offense of committing a DWI under “aggravating circumstances.”
The BAC – “blood alcohol concentration” – is one of the vital elements of a DWI offense. A BAC is a measure of what percentage of your blood is pure alcohol. As you drink alcohol and it is absorbed into your body, this measure goes up. As the alcohol is filtered out through your liver and kidneys, the measure goes down.
Aggravated DWI is the standard DWI crime, but with the added conditions that make the offense more serious. There are two conditions that § 1992(2-a) considers, either of which increase a DWI to aggravated DWI:
- Your BAC is .18% or higher – considerably higher than the standard “legal limit” of .08%.
- You commit a DWI or DWAI based on drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol while there is a child under fifteen years old in your car.
Most states have at least two “tiers” of drunk driving offenses, increasing the punishment for higher BACs. In New York, DWAI generally covers BACs between .05% and .07%, DWI covers DWIs higher than .08%, and aggravated DWI is the highest level of DWI, covering BACs .18% and higher. A BAC of .18% is quite high, and usually comes with impaired motor function, blurred vision, loss of balance and nausea. People with this much alcohol in their system may even need help standing or begin blacking out.
Penalties for Aggravated DWI in New York
Aggravated DWI is a serious offense. If you have been charged with aggravated DWI, contact a lawyer immediately. You may face extremely serious consequences if you are convicted.
For a first offense, any DWI or DWAI offense carries a potential of jail time. Aggravated DWI is the most serious form of these offenses, and carries the harshest punishment for first offenses. Even if you have no other criminal or driving offenses on your record, you could potentially face a fine of $1,000-$2,000, up to one year in jail, and one year with your drivers’ license revoked.
Committing multiple aggravated DWI offenses within 10 years constitutes a felony in New York. For a second aggravated DWI, it becomes a class E felony punished by a $1,000-$5,000 fine, up to four years in prison, and up to 18 months without a license. A third aggravated DWI within 10 years is a class D felony, punished by a $2,000-$10,000 fine, seven years in prison, and another 18 months without a license.
If you are charged with aggravated DWI because of a very high BAC or because you had a child in your car, you could face other, related charges. Driving is dangerous enough without adding alcohol, but driving drunk with a very high BAC could endanger others. If you are accused of puting other drivers, pedestrians, or occupants of your car in danger of injury, you may face reckless driving charges, reckless endangerment charges, or endangering the welfare of a child charges. If you cause injury while driving drunk with a BAC over .18%, you could face charges for vehicular assault in the first degree or aggravated vehicular assault – both felony charges.
Queens DWI Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with aggravated DWI, or any drunk driving offense, in New York City, call the Queens criminal defense attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw. Our lawyers work hard to fight DWI cases and work to get charges dropped, cases dismissed, and keep our clients out of jail. Call (800) 730-0135 for a free consultation on your DWI charges.