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NY DWI Attorney Explains | DUI/DWI vs DWAI, What’s the Difference Between Them?

Posted by Daniel DuBois | Apr 22, 2022 | 0 Comments

Welcome back to the blog! Today, we wanted to answer a very common question we see around the web. Namely, what's the difference between DWI, DUI, and DWAI. 

To start, those first two terms are interchangeable among the general population. New York Law doesn't use the term Driving Under the Influence (DUI), preferring Driving While Impaired (DWI) as a better catch-all. Since NY doesn't have DUI as a legal term referenced in its laws, most attorneys and judges will use DWI instead. Since they're interchangeable outside of the courtroom and people use them as such, we'll continue to refer to the crime as DWI for simplicity.

Some state legal systems have a distinction between DWI and DUI, but New York is not one of them. 

DWI and DWAI have their differences, though. DWIs are typically crimes that carry harsher punishments. DWAI-Alcohol, or Driving While Ability Impaired, is considered a violation and will also be specific to the substance that had impaired the driver. 

DWAI-Drugs consequences are more closely related to DWI charges, with potential jail time, probations, fines, and license revocation as the possible penalties. 

Another difference between these two is the threshold for triggering the charges. DWAIs are brought against people who have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) between .05 and .07%. DWIs are triggered when a BAC over .08 is detected. 

The consequences can vary, but both may see punishments up to and including fines, jail time, and license suspension. However, punishment for a DWI is more severe than punishments for  DWAI. For example, fines for a DWAI can start at $350, and fines for DWI can start at $500. Additionally, a DWAI won't immediately cause a suspended license, while a DWI will.  You can also be issued a DWAI for a combination of drugs and alcohol, which is more severe still. 

Lets get further into the details of the penalties for these charges

Penalties in NY for DWI

Keep in mind that the outcome of your case depends on its specifics and cannot be determined using previous cases and results. Penalties are based on severity and frequency, with more offenses meaning more punishments. For the first offense, a mandatory fine is imposed, jail time isn't required, and your license may be revoked for at least six months. Second offenses have 5 days of jail time or 30 days of community service if it's within 5 years. Third offenses come with either 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service, also if those first two offenses are within 5 years. Of course, other penalties and jail time could come into play if other circumstances are involved, such as property damage or elevated BAC levels, etc. 

Additionally, many times an ignition interlock device is required on your car following a conviction.

Penalties in NY for DWAI

Penalties for DWAI are generally less serious than penalties for DWI, assuming it's only for alcohol. The specifics and intricacies can only be determined on a case-by-case basis determined by the facts that are unique to your case. The fines and penalties increase for repeat offenses and for combinations of drug and alcohol use. 

Why are DWAI-Alcohol penalties less severe than DWI penalties in New York?

In New York, DWAI-Alchohol penalties tend to be less severe than penalties for DWI because their BAC trigger is lower than the 0.08 needed for a DWI. However, if you rack up enough DWAI charges, you could face a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor or violation.

DISCLAIMER: PAST RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE RESULTS, AND THE OUTCOME OF YOUR PARTICULAR CASE OR MATTER CANNOT BE PREDICTED USING A LAWYER'S OR LAW FIRM'S PAST RESULTS. EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND SHOULD BE EVALUATED THROUGH A PHONE CALL OR MEETING WITH DANIEL DUBOIS, WITHOUT COMPARISON TO OTHER CASES WHICH MAY HAVE HAD DIFFERENT FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

Are You Facing a DWI or DWAI Charge in New York?

Facing any charge is a stressful endeavor. Here at DuBois Law, we understand, we never judge. If you're facing these charges in NY, it's important to know that choosing the right attorney can be like a liferaft to the penalties and fines you may face. If you find yourself arrested for these crimes, it's key to get an expert DWI/DWAI Attorney on your side who'll fight for you. You can count on Daniel DuBois and DuBois Law to take your matter to heart to ensure your best outcome.

This blog does not publish legal advice, we are here to disseminate available information to lead to a more informed public. If you need legal advice, we suggest that you reach out by calling us or filling out a contact form.

Stay up to date with us by checking back at the blog regularly! You can also see coverage of us and our clients in the news, plus check out some recommendations from previous clients. 

We understand, we never judge. Call us at 888-NTGULTY (888-684-8589) or fill out the contact form for a FREE consultation. 

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