DWI/DWAI: Do you know the difference?

Driving while ability impaired is one charge that you could face if you’re impaired while behind the wheel in New York. This charge varies from a typical driving while intoxicate (DWI) charge, because it is usually applied when someone is assumed to be impaired by drugs or is impaired by alcohol but under the legal limit.

There are significant penalties for both DWIs and DWAIs. For example, a first offense DWI or DWAI-drug can lead to a license revocation of six months or longer and fines of up to $1,000. Additionally, you could be sent to jail for up to one year.

The penalties only get more serious upon second, third or subsequent violations. A second violation in 10 years is a felony, and you could face fines of up to $5,000 and up to four years in jail. You may also lose your license for a year or longer.

Why are there DWAI and DWI laws?

DWAI violations were created to compensate for drug-related offenses and offenses that occur under the 0.08% legal alcohol limit. Here’s an example of how it works.

Let’s say that you were impaired because you took cold medicine before heading to work. While driving, you went out of your lane because of drowsiness. You pulled over, but an officer came up behind you after seeing what happened. Since you’re not impaired by alcohol but are unable to complete the field sobriety tests, the officer places you under arrest for drug impairment.

How can you fight a DWAI?

It is important that you have the opportunity to fight charges that are filed against you. If you’re accused of drinking while driving or being impaired by drugs, you may want to reach out to your attorney to start putting together a defense. Remember, you don’t have to admit to taking drugs or driving while intoxicated. Don’t give the police anything that could help them secure their case.

Both of these charges can have lasting implications, so it’s a good idea to look at how you can reduce any penalties you face or have the case dismissed.