The Penalties For Being Under The Influence Of Alcohol While Driving

Driving while intoxicated is against the law. Many law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on drunken driving. Recent laws have increased the severity of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

People can be convicted of a felony and face imprisonment for vehicular manslaughter if they are involved in a crash that claims the lives of innocent victims. The penalties for conviction of a misdemeanor while driving under the influence vary with each state. This information will examine a few state jurisdictions and what happens to people convicted of driving under the influence.


First offense of a DWI carries the following consequences:

· Attendance of an alcohol program or DUI class
· Mandatory fine up to $1000
· Possible 48 hours to 6 months in jail
· Possible 6- to 12-month license suspension
· Possible license restriction for work-only driving
· Accused is placed on probation with additional fees attached

Second offense in 10-year period:

· Longer attendance in an alcohol treatment program
· $1000 or higher fine
· 96 hours to 2-year jail time
· Installation of interlock device
· Possible 2-year license suspension
· Possible driving restrictions up to 3 years
· Probation with additional fees

Third and fourth convictions in 10-year period:

· Many of the above penalties
· Increased license suspension times
· Additional fines
· Increased jail terms


First conviction of DWI:

· $300–$1000 fine
· Possible license suspension
· 40 hours mandatory community service
· Probation

Second conviction:

· Mandatory 48-hour jail sentence
· Up to $1000 fine
· Minimum 30 days community service
· Possible license suspension of up to 3 years
· Probation
· Possible alcohol treatment program

Third and fourth convictions:

· 15–30 days in jail
· $1000–$5000 fines imposed
· License revoked for 5 years
· 30 days and longer ofa community service
· Court ordered alcohol treatment programs
· Declared habitual violator status
· Fourth conviction could result in 1–5 year prison sentence, felony conviction and 60 days minimum of community service

New York

First conviction of DWI:

· $500–$1000 fine
· 10-day minimum jail sentence or 60 days community service
· Drug or alcohol evaluation before sentencing

Second conviction:

· Within 10 years is a Class E felony
· $1000–$5000 fine
· Minimum of 10 days in jail or 60 days community service
· License revoked for 1 year
· Accused pays for alcohol assessment

Third conviction:

· Within 10 years is a Class D felony
· $2000– $10,000 fine
· License revoked for 1 year
· Ignition interlock device installed once suspension is over
· Minimum 10 days in jail or up to 7 years in prison

Zero Tolerance and Buzzed Driving

Many law enforcement jurisdictions can now crack down on young adults under the age of 21 years old for being impaired behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .02 percent. The legal limit for adults is .08.

License suspension up to 1 year can be imposed on the conviction of a BAC between .02 and .08 percent. The judge can consider sentencing the young adult to attend an alcohol rehabilitation treatment facility to reduce the chance of them becoming a repeat offender.

Reduce the Chances of Being an Offender

Driving under the influence is a serious crime. Gone are those days when people were only slapped on the wrist with a small fine for DWI. It is senseless to waste another person’s health and life through the chance of a vehicular accident. Driving intoxicated can cost a person their freedom, money, prestige and career if the problem is not addressed.

Avoid these problems by refusing to drink and drive. If anyone has a problem with alcohol, they should seek immediate treatment in a rehabilitation program. Failure to correct the problem with drinking can have dire consequences. Take action to get results today.

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