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What should you know about receiving your first DWI?

If you are driving in New York with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08% and 0.18%, and law enforcement pulls you over, authorities will charge you with driving while intoxicated. 

The legal repercussions of a first DWI vary from the repercussions of a second or third DWI in New York. Learn what happens when you face your first DWI charge. 

The extent of your impairment matters 

Though you will receive a DWI when driving impaired, your level of impairment can impact your case

If your level of impairment is significant, you are more likely to receive a DWI charge. However, in some circumstances, you may receive the lesser charge of driving while ability impaired if your impairment is moderate. Officers will assess your level of impairment based on the results of your chemical tests, your demeanor and your ability to complete a field sobriety test. 

You may receive a license suspension for longer if you refuse testing 

The state of New York has implied consent laws. These laws mean that you as a driver consent to chemical testing (a urine, saliva, breath or blood test) if an officer suspects that you are driving while intoxicated. By refusing to undergo testing, you will likely face more serious consequences. 

Even if you have never faced a DWI charge before, you may have a license suspension if you do not consent to testing. Whereas you will receive a license suspension for a minimum of six months if you consent to testing and receive a DWI conviction, you will receive a minimum license suspension of one year if you refuse testing. 

Financial penalties can vary 

There is not a set fine you must pay when you receive your first DWI conviction in New York. Rather, you will pay between $500 to $1,000 in fines for your first DWI if your BAC was under 0.18%. If your BAC was above 0.18%, you will pay between $1,000 to $2,500 in fines for your first DWI conviction.