Consequences & Costs

The Consequences

New York Laws
Statutes which prohibit Driving While Intoxicated are contained in Article 31 of New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law. Various sections within Article 31, beginning with section 1192, describe the offenses, sanctions, and procedures related to a violation.

In addition to Article 31, New York Penal Law Section 125 describes crimes and sanctions related to drunken drivers who cause a crash in which someone is killed or injured. Section 511 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law sets forth the violations and sanctions for driving a vehicle without a license as the result of a DWI conviction.

  • Click here  to see all sections of Article 31
  • Click here for a reference chart of typical DWI violations and sanctions


Financial Costs to Offenders

Fines for alcohol offenses range from $300 to $10,000. In addition to fines, court surcharges are applied to each offense and range from $260 for conviction of DWAI, a violation, to $520 for a Felony offense.
Separate from fines and surcharges, a $750.00 Driver Responsibility Assessment is levied by the Department of Motor Vehicles, in addition to typical fees for re-issuing a license.

In order to be eligible for conditional license, a fee of $200 to $225 is paid to for attendance of the NYS Drinking Driver Program.  If referred for alcohol and substance abuse evaluation, each offender is responsible for the cost of treatment not covered by insurance.

To all of these costs, each offender must add the cost of a Lawyer to represent them in Court. Depending on the complexity of the case, fees range from $2,000 to $10,000.

Finally, each DWI Offender will have to purchase Automobile Insurance from the risk pool. The premiums paid by this group are typically 3 times that of other drivers.
Estimates of the Total financial cost of a typical DWI: $4,000 to $15,000.


Sentencing Guidelines

New York DWI Laws prohibit persons charged with driving while intoxicated from pleading guilty to a non-alcohol related offense except under very narrow evidentiary circumstances.

In addressing the practice of plea bargaining, an essential component of an overburdened criminal justice system, the New York lawmakers put in place landmark legislation regarding DWI related offenses. Click here for a chart of penalties.

Legislation of 2009 – CHILD PASSENGER PROTECTION ACT (VTL §1192.2a (b))


~ Leandra’s Law ~

Eleven year old Leandra Rosado’s life came to a tragic end on October 11, 2009 in a DWI crash on the Henry Hudson Parkway. She and six other children were in a car driven by Carmen Huertas, a friend’s mother, who was under the influence of alcohol. The vehicle spun out of control and Leandra’s body was ejected out of the vehicles window causing her death. The six other children were seriously injured as well. Leandra’s father, Lenny Rosado, has become a fierce proponent of harsher DWI laws and his lobbying combined with momentum from the tragic crash has led to quick changes in New York’s DWI laws.


The Proposed Legislation became effective as Law November 18, 2009:

Any person operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (.08 BAC or greater) or impaired by drugs and transporting a child 15 years or less shall be charged with a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in State Prison.


Ignition Interlock Mandate effective August 15, 2010:

Any driver upon conviction for a misdemeanor or felony DWI offense under VTL §1192-2, 1192-2a, 1192-3 as part of any sentence shall have an interlock device installed on all vehicles owned or operated by the defendant regardless of whether a child was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest or not.

The driver is responsible for paying for the installation and maintenance of the interlock device for at least 6 months or such time as ordered by the court.