Drug-Free Campus Guidelines: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and the Zero Tolerance Law in New York

Driving while intoxicated (DWI), as determined by a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year imprisonment and/or up to a $1,000 fine for a first offense plus six months license revocation; a second or subsequent offense is a Class E felony. Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWAI, not necessarily legally intoxicated, but with a relevant level of blood alcohol content of at least .05, and up to .07) is also a violation, punishable by up to 15 days imprisonment and/or a $500 fine plus a 90-day license suspension. Repeated offenses result in more serious penalties.

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in your blood and is usually determined by a chemical test of breath, blood, urine or saliva. A BAC of more than .05 percent is legal evidence that you are impaired, and a BAC of .08 percent or higher is evidence of intoxication.

Under the state’s Zero Tolerance law, it is a violation for a person under age 21 to drive with any measurable BAC (.02 to .07). After a finding of violation is determined at a DMV hearing, the driver’s license will be suspended for six months. The driver will then have to pay a $100 suspension termination fee and a $125 civil penalty to be re-licensed. For a second Zero Tolerance violation, the driver’s license will be revoked for at least one year or until the driver reaches age 21, whichever is longer.

Fines and other sanctions may be imposed by local municipalities prohibiting consumption or possession of open containers in public places or private property without the owner’s permission.