Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Some DWI penalties expected to strengthen

Around the nation, laws pertaining to drunk driving have grown stricter and stricter over the years. This includes the enactment and enforcement of stronger penalties. New York has some of the harshest laws of any state in the country. For people who are arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, this can make them more concerned about successfully defending against the accusations.

Certainly there is never a guarantee that a criminal charge can be dropped. However, there is also no guarantee that a DUI arrest should automatically lead to a DUI conviction. Many factors play into the ultimate outcome of cases with each situation being evaluated individually. At this time, most DWI or related charges are treated as misdemeanors. If the Governor does as expected, that will change for some charges effective November 1 of this year.

After being signed by the Governor, persons who are arrested for alcohol-related traffic violations with three other convictions on file in the previous 15 years will be charged with felonies rather than misdemeanors. This will change the potential penalties that defendants may experience. Fines could be as high as $10,000 and jail sentences as long as seven years. This new bill was introduced in part due to the death of a man after an accident caused by a driver with five existing DWI-related convictions on record and an extremely high blood alcohol content at the time.

Such a change to New York DWI laws may make working with an attorney after a DWI arrest even more important than before. Persons accused of drunk driving can sometimes find it helpful to get good legal input.

Source:, “Cuomo to approve 3-strikes felony DWI law,” August 1, 2014

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