Regular readers of our White Plains will undoubtedly recall that we have in the past warned that New York has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the nation. A new study confirms the claim by ranking New York’s DWI laws and penalties as the sixth toughest in the U.S.

As many know, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) here is .08 percent. Anyone reaching or exceeding that level can be charged with DWI. For commercial vehicle drivers, the legal threshold is even lower: .04 percent.

According to the recently released survey, the very toughest drunk driving laws are found in Minnesota, even though Utah (ranked second) has the lowest BAC threshold in the country at .05 percent.

All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, are ranked according to criteria that includes the following:

  • DWI arrests per 100,000 residents (New York has 223 arrests per 100K)
    BAC threshold
  • BAC level at which enhanced penalties take effect (in New York, it’s .18 percent)
  • Jail time for first, second and third DWI offenses
  • Fines for first, second and third DWI offenses
  • The severity of repeat offender laws
  • Whether ignition interlock devices are mandated (in New York, the devices are mandatory for all DWI convictions)

New York can also impose lengthy jail stays and heavy fines for a first DWI (up to a year). A second DWI can result in up to four years in jail, while a third offense can mean up to 7 years behind bars. We also have punitive driver’s license suspensions for a first offense (12 months), second (24 months) and third offense (36 months).

Those who have been charged with drunk driving in Westchester County can protect their freedom and license with the help of an attorney experienced in DWI/DUI defense.