At O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC, our Albany criminal defense attorneys know in New York, there are distinctions between Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) offenses, both of which involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The key differences lie in the level of impairment and the associated penalties.

Here, our Albany County defense lawyers provide a brief overview of each.

Difference Between DWI and DWAI

Driving While Intoxicated in New York

DWI involves operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher for drivers aged 21 and older. For drivers under 21, any measurable BAC is considered a violation.

Aggravating factors like a BAC significantly above the legal limit, previous DWI convictions, or the presence of a minor in the vehicle can result in more severe penalties.

Penalties for DWI offenses can include fines, license revocation, mandatory alcohol education programs, and, in some cases, imprisonment.

Refusing to take a chemical test when arrested for DWI can lead to administrative penalties, like license suspension or revocation, even if not convicted of DWI.

Driving While Ability Impaired in New York

DWAI involves operating a vehicle with a BAC between .05% and .07% for drivers aged 21 and older. DWAI by drugs is also possible if impaired by drugs alone or in combination with alcohol.

DWAI is considered a traffic infraction rather than a criminal offense, but it is still a serious charge. Aggravating factors, like prior DWAI or DWI convictions, can increase penalties for a DWAI offense.

Penalties for DWAI are generally less severe than those for DWI. They may include fines, license suspension, and participation in a Drinking Driver Program.

Refusing a chemical test when arrested for DWAI may result in administrative penalties similar to DWI ones, including license suspension.

Contact our Albany Criminal Defense Attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC

If you are facing charges of DWI or DWAI in New York, contact our Albany criminal defense attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC today by calling (518)-391-2369 or online to schedule your initial appointment. We have a strong track record of producing real results for our clients. See how we can pursue a positive outcome for your case.

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