New York DUI 101

New York DUI laws enforce the following blood alcohol limits for drivers:

  • For drivers 21 or older, a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater is illegal.
  • For commercial drivers, a blood alcohol level of .04 or higher is illegal.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 cannot consume any amount of alcohol before driving.

New York DUI Penalties:

When it comes to first-time offenders, blood alcohol content has a strong impact on the nature of the punishment. Drivers with a blood alcohol level between .08 and .18 may be fined between $500 and $1,000, as well as lose their license for at least six months and spend up to a year in jail. Drivers with a blood alcohol level greater than .18 will be fined at least $1,000, lose their license for at least a year, and spend up to one year in jail.  A second offense within 10 years of the first can warrant a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, four years in prison and license revocation of a year or longer.  A third offense can result in a fine of $2,000 to $10,000, seven years in jail, and permanent revocation of a driver’s license.

While these are the basic penalty guidelines, harsher penalties may be enforced depending on the nature of the incident. For example, commercial drivers who violate drinking and driving laws may lose their commercial driving license for at least a few. This suspension may be extended depending on the driver’s cargo. After a second offense, the commercial driver can permanently lose the commercial driving license.

Taxi cab drivers who are caught driving under the influence will face a fine of $500 to $1,500 and possible imprisonment. However, if a passenger is present in the taxi or if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds .18, harsher penalties may be enforced, including fines up to $5,000 and up to four years imprisonment.

Appropriately, New York bus drivers also face strict penalties for intoxicated driving. The consequences vary, based on the driver’s blood alcohol level and whether passengers were on the bus. For example, if the driver’s blood alcohol level is greater than .18 and students are onboard, the bus driver may face seven years in prison, loss of driver’s license and a fine of up to $10,000.

Drivers under 21 are subject to chemical tests. If a test reveals any amount of consumed alcohol, the driver will lose his or her driver’s license for six months or up to a year. A second offense will result in the loss of a driver’s license for another year or until the driver reaches the age of 21.

Restricted Licenses:

Drivers who have lost their licenses due to drinking and driving violations can try to obtain a restricted or conditional license. This license allows the offender to drive to and from places such as work, class, childcare facilities (to pick up children), DUI programs, and the DMV office.  A driver is only eligible for a restricted license after enrolling in the New York Drinking Driver Program.

DUI Programs:

Enrollment in the New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) may either be optional or mandatory, based on a judge’s verdict. The class, which is designed to educate drivers on the dangers of driving while under the influence, may last a total of 16 hours and cost up to $225. Offenders of New York DUI laws should visit the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for additional information and application forms.