Syracuse DWI Charges

Anyone caught driving with a blood-alcohol content (or BAC) of .08 percent or higher may be charged with a DWI [there is currently a movement to again reduce this threshold so we can expect that within a few years driving with a BAC level of .05 or above will be guilty of DWI]. However, if their BAC is .18 percent or higher, they can face charges for an aggravated DWI. Those who register a BAC of between .05 and .07 percent can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), albeit the charge is somewhat less severe it can still have a devastating impact upon insurance rates, employment, and your home life. And those under the influence of illegal drugs while driving can also face charges of DWAI-Drugs, which, like DWI, is a criminal offense.


Ordinarily a charge for DWAI-Drugs is based upon the opinion of a so-called “Drug Recognition Expert” who the police will put forth as a person who is able to tell if another person is impaired by drugs. It is also important to note that DWAI-Drugs does not require that the drugs be possessed or ingested illegally, one can be charged with DWAI-Drugs when operating a vehicle after taken prescribed medication. The lawyers at Tully Rinckey have experience handling and defending against each of these specific charges.

If you are stopped while driving in Syracuse, refusing a blood, breath, or urine test to determine BAC is a violation. New York is an implied consent state meaning that any licensed driver automatically consents to chemical tests. This does not mean the police can forcibly submit you to a breath or blood test, but it does mean that if you are found to have knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily refused to submit to a chemical test your driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of one year. Police agencies will ordinarily give you the opportunity to call a lawyer for advice prior to the chemical test but if you cannot reach an attorney that does not relieve you of the statutory mandate to submit to the test.

Alcohol and Drug Related Violations and Penalties in Syracuse, New York

In Syracuse, New York, there are several alcohol and drug-related violations with which a driver can be charged, including:

  • DWI: Driving While Intoxicated; .08 BAC or higher, or other evidence of intoxication.
  • Aggravated DWI: Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated; .18 BAC or higher.
  • DWAI/Alcohol: Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05 BAC to .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
  • DWAI/Drug: Driving While Ability Impaired by a drug other than alcohol in the opinion of a Drug Recognition Expert.
  • DWAI/Combination: Driving While Ability Impaired by the combined influence of drugs and alcohol in the opinion of a Drug Recognition Expert.
  • Chemical Test Refusal: Refusing to take a chemical test, normally a test of breath, blood or urine.
  • Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years old and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC
Penalties for a DWI Conviction

In Syracuse, there are multiple penalties for such alcohol and drug-related violations. Possible penalties for these violations include:

  • License suspensions/revocations
  • Fines
  • Possible jail terms
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Mandatory attendance at Victim Impact Panel
  • Mandatory enrollment in Impaired Driver Program

First-time DWI offenders face hundreds of dollars in fines and up to one year in prison. There is also a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension. For those facing their second DWI charge in a ten-year span, the penalties increase. In addition to expensive fines, second offenders may be sentenced to up to four years behind bars, and their license may be suspended for one year.

Penalties for Multiple DWI Offenses

If you are accused of committing multiple alcohol or drug related violations within a ten-year period can result in harsher penalties, including the potential permanent revocation of your license.

Do You Need a Syracuse DWI Lawyer?

In the face of DWI charges, legal representation is vital. There is too much on the line to risk facing an aggressive prosecutor without a fierce advocate on your side.

Our team frequently represents clients facing DWI charges across Onondaga County. No matter the circumstances of your case, our Syracuse DWI attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you fight the charges. We bring skill and decades of trial experience to every case we handle. If you need a DWI lawyer, let the dedicated legal team at Tully Rinckey fight for you.

Contact us today at 8885294543 to schedule your free consultation.

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