New York Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in New York?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk after a chemical test reveals that they consumed alcohol.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in New York

  • First-time offenders whose BAC measured .08 but less than .18 face a term of imprisonment of up to one year and payment of a fine of $500 to $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is at least six months.
  • First-time offenders whose BAC measured .18 or more face a term of imprisonment of up to one year and payment of a fine of at least $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is at least one year. In addition, if the offender is placed on probation, the offender must use an ignition interlock device following restoration of his driver’s license and during the probation term.
  • Those who commit a second DWI offense within 10 years face up to four years in prison and payment of a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is at least one year. If, however, the first offense was for a DWI with a BAC of .18 or more, the revocation period will be at least 18 months.
  • A person who commits a third offense within 10 years faces up to seven years in prison and payment of a fine of $2,000 to $10,000. Depending on the circumstances of the prior violations and the time period between violations, these offenders may have their driver’s licenses permanently revoked.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with New York’s DWI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DWI while operating any vehicle will have his or her commercial driver’s license revoked for at least one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the revocation period is at three least years. A commercial driver who commits a second DWI will have his or her commercial license permanently revoked. If the driver maintains a clean driving history, the revocation may be lifted after 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, if a chemical test shows that a driver under 21 consumed alcohol and drove, the minor’s driver’s license will be revoked for at least six months. If, however, the minor is convicted and is adjudicated a youthful offender for driving while intoxicated, the revocation period is at least one year. If the minor had a prior DWI offense, the revocation period will be at least one year or until the minor reaches 21, whichever period is greater.

School Bus Drivers

In addition to other penalties related to New York’s DWI laws, if a chemical test reveals that a school bus driver consumed alcohol and drove a school bus, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. If, however, at least one student passenger was in the vehicle at the time of the violation, the driver faces a term of imprisonment to be determined by a judge in accordance with the DWI law violated. The offender is also subject to pay a fine of $500 to $1,500. If, however, the bus driver’s BAC measured .08 but less than .18 and at least one student passenger was in the bus at the time, the driver faces up to four years in prison and is subject to pay a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. If the driver’s BAC measured .18 or more and a student passenger was in the bus at the time, the driver faces up to seven years in prison and is subject to pay a fine of $2,000 to $10,000.

Taxi Cab Drivers

In addition to other penalties related to New York’s DWI laws, if a chemical test reveals that a taxi cab driver consumed alcohol and drove a taxi, the driver faces a term of imprisonment to be determined by a judge in accordance with the DWI law violated. The offender is also subject to pay a fine of $500 to $1,500. If, however, the driver’s BAC measured .18 or greater and one commercial passenger was in the vehicle at the time, the driver faces up to four years in prison and is subject to pay a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.

Ignition Interlock

Use of an ignition interlock is required for at least 12 months, which may be reduced to six months.

What is New York’s Dram Shop Act?

Under New York law, a licensed drinking establishment that sells liquor to a minor or to an intoxicated person may be held liable for third-party injuries caused by the illegal sale. Additionally, a licensed drinking establishment that sells liquor to a minor may be held liable for injuries suffered by the minor as a result of his or her own intoxication.

What is New York’s Social Host Statute?

Under New York law, any person who knowingly serves alcohol to a minor can be liable for resulting injuries caused as a result of the minor’s intoxication.

Criminal Liability for Selling or Giving Alcohol to a Minor

Any person who sells or gives alcohol to a person under 21 faces up to one year in prison and is subject to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Free Case Review
First Name
Last Name
ZIP
Phone
Email
Briefly describe your injuries