In New York, the charge of DWAI which stands for Driving While Ability Impaired is a traffic infraction and not a crime. However, if you are pulled over by the police and they subsequently charge you with DWAI, you will be taken to the police precinct where you will be fingerprinted, photographed and processed. You will subsequently spend somewhere between 12-20 hours in Central Booking to await arraignment before a criminal court judge.
If the police obtain a breath sample from you which provides a reading of less than .08, such as .05, you will likely be charged with DWAI. While the good news is that you are not being charged with a misdemeanor crime, the reality is that a DWAI conviction can still have many negative effects. If you are found guilty after trial, or otherwise plea guilty to an NYC DWAI, you will likely face license suspension, fines and an increase in insurance rates. Depending on what you do for a living, a DWAI can also be detrimental to your employment. Because it is an alcohol related offense, if you drive for a living, an employer may suspend or terminate your employment due to a DWAI. Further, a holder of a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) will have his CDL license revoked for a period of one year.
A New York City DWAI charge can be successfully fought and so early contact with a NYC DWAI Attorney is an important first step in deciding how to handle the case.