Understanding Brooklyn DWI Penalties & Sentencing

Common DWI Charges and Penalties

There are a few main drunk driving charges in Brooklyn that come with escalating penalties. These include:Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) – For blood alcohol content (BAC) between .05% and .07%. This is a traffic infraction, not a crime. However it still carries penalties like fines, license suspension, and screening programs. Potential penalties include:

  • Fines of $300-$500
  • License suspension for 90 days
  • Mandatory DWAI screening program

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Misdemeanor – For BAC of .08% to .17%. This is a misdemeanor criminal charge. Penalties can include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of $500-$1000
  • License revocation for 6 months
  • Ignition interlock device required

Aggravated DWI – For BAC of .18% and higher. Also includes DWIs with a child passenger under 16 years old. This is a felony criminal charge. Penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of $1000-$2500
  • License revocation for 1 year
  • Ignition interlock device required

DWI with Injury – If injury or death occurs due to the DWI incident. This escalates penalties significantly, often increasing jail time.As you can see, penalties go up sharply depending on the specifics of the incident and charges. Many first-time misdemeanor DWIs may lead to a plea deal involving fines, suspension, and screening programs. But repeat offenses or aggravated charges can lead to long jail sentences.

Aggravating Factors Mean Harsher Sentences

In addition to higher BAC levels, there are other aggravating factors that can ramp up DWI sentences in Brooklyn. These include things like:

  • Prior DWI Convictions – Getting charged with a another DWI within 10 years means much stricter sentences. A prior misdemeanor DWI can become a felony with increased jail time.
  • High Rates of Speed – Going over the speed limit by 30 mph or more leads to license suspension for 1 year instead of 6 months.
  • With a Child Passenger – As mentioned earlier, having a passenger under 16 years old escalates charges.
  • School Zone or Construction Zone – DWI incidents that occur in these zones face heightened charges and penalties.

So while a garden variety first-time misdemeanor DWI may lead to lighter penalties, the presence of any of these aggravating factors means you’ll face more severe sentencing and fines if convicted.

How Prior Offenses Impact Sentences

Many folks don’t realize just how much prior DWIs can impact potential sentencing. But even a conviction that occurred many years ago can come back to haunt you. Here’s an overview of how past DWIs affect new charges:Second DWI in 10 Years

  • Misdemeanor charge becomes an automatic felony
  • Up to 4 years in prison
  • Fines up to $5000

Third DWI in 10 Years

  • Class D felony
  • Up to 7 years in prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

Fourth DWI Conviction

  • Class C felony
  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Fines up to $15,000

And it continues escalating from there. Simply put, judges take repeat DWI offenses very seriously. Even if your last conviction was years ago, new charges can lead to very long sentences depending on your history.

Probation and Alternative-to-Incarceration Programs

For some first-time misdemeanor DWIs, judges may offer probation instead of jail time. The requirements tend to be strict and failing to comply can still land you behind bars. Common probation terms include:

  • Mandatory substance abuse counseling
  • Community service hours
  • Ignition interlock device in vehicles
  • Periodic drug/alcohol testing
  • No same offenses during probation

Brooklyn also offers alternative-to-incarceration programs for some cases. These intensive supervision programs allow people to avoid jail if they complete mandates like counseling, community service, monitoring, etc. Requirements tend to be demanding and you risk incarceration if you don’t comply.So while probation or supervision programs seem appealing compared to jail, don’t underestimate how strict the rules can be. Violating terms would likely activate the initial sentence.

Suspension and Revocation of Your License

In addition to fines and possible jail time, a DWI conviction also leads to suspension or full revocation of your driver’s license. The duration depends on exact charges but can be anywhere from 90 days up to a full year loss of license. And for certain high-level charges, licenses can be revoked indefinitely until re-issued by a judge.During the suspension or revocation window, you are not allowed to operate any motor vehicles. If caught driving, you’d face additional charges and penalties.

Finding the Right Legal Help for Your Situation

As you can see, DWI charges in Brooklyn can become complex cases with serious penalties on the line. Having an experienced DWI defense lawyer helping to advocate for you is hugely important. They understand all the intricacies of local courts and laws and can put together the strongest defense.Here are a few top-rated NYC-area DWI lawyers to consider if you need representation:

  • Rosenblum Law – Highly-rated team with flat-fee options and free consultations.
  • The Potash Law Firm – Well-known Brooklyn firm specializing in DWIs.
  • Goldstein Mehta LLC – Top lawyers with over 50 years combined DWI experience.

And here are some useful legal resources to learn more about DWIs in New York:

  • Detailed DWI penalty charts from New York DMV
  • Overview of New York DWIs from FindLaw
  • New York DWI defense guides from Avvo