How is Aggravated DWI Different from DWI?

In 2007, New York State enacted a new law that created the offense of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI). This category of DWI has higher penalties and different plea-bargaining restrictions than a regular DWI and is considered a more serious offense. Make sure that you know what the difference is between DWI and Aggravated DWI, what the penalties are, and what your options may be if you are charged with this more serious crime.

Aggravated DWI

In New York State, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. You can be charged with Aggravated DWI if you get a .18 or higher on a Breathalyzer test. Aggravated DWI is a misdemeanor, but it is considered a more serious crime than DWI. If you are charged with Aggravated DWI, you will most likely not be able to plead below a DWI misdemeanor.

Criminal Penalties

If this is your first DWI offense, regardless of the results of your Breathalyzer test, the offense will be a misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail, with probation for an additional 3 years. You may also be charged a fine from $1,000 to $2,500 and have your driver’s license taken away for up to a year. In addition, you may be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel, which is a program designed to help DWI offenders understand the effects of driving while intoxicated.
If you commit a second Aggravated DWI within 10 years of your first one, you can be charged with a Class E Felony. The penalties for this are harsher than those for your first offense. You can be sentenced to up to 4 years in jail and the maximum fine is increased to $5,000. Additionally, your license can be revoked for up to 18 months.
A third Aggravated DWI in 10 years can be treated as a Class D Felony. This means that the maximum jail sentence is increased to 7 years. The fines for this offense are $2,000 to $10,000. You may also, again, be subject to your license being taken away for up to 18 months.

Other penalties and requirements

Along with the criminal penalties that an Aggravated DWI incurs, you may also be faced with civil penalties. These include a $250 per year DMV assessment for three years and a $395 court surcharge.
All Aggravated DWI offenses carry with them the requirement that you install an Ignition Interlock Device in any car that you own or operate during the term of your probation or conditional discharge. An Ignition Interlock Device, or IID, is a mechanism installed in your car to prevent drinking and driving. Before you can start your car, you will be required to breathe into the device so that it can analyze your blood alcohol level. If your BAC is higher than the level programmed into the IID, the car will not start. The IID may not be removed until at least 6 months have passed and all charges for installation and maintenance are your responsibility.

Who to call

If you have been charged, or fear being charged, with Aggravated DWI, call the criminal defense attorneys at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. Our DWI attorneys are committed to giving you the best defense possible. They will be able to assess your rights, possible penalties you may be facing, and potential weaknesses in the charges against you.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.