In New York State, the crime Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) consists of an individual testing a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of .08 or higher. Producing a BAC of .05 to .07, or any other evidence of impairment results in Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Both DWI and DWAI offenses carry with it a range of penalties and consequences. First offenders for DWI and DWAI are fined $500-1000 by the DMV, face a maximum jail sentence of one year, and their license is revoked for at least six months. This A misdemeanor is accompanied by additional costs through court surcharges. Two time offenders within 10 years face up to four years in jail and license is revoked for 18 months in addition to receiving an E felony . Aggravated DWI occurs when a motorist operating a vehicle tests .18 BAC or higher. Individuals convicted of this offense (A-DWI) face a year revocation of their driver's license and up to a year in jail. When a driver is stopped by a police officer under the assumption of DWI, it is common that the officer asks the individual to blow into a breathalyzer, a test that records BAC. However, a driver has the option to refuse the breathalyzer, they usually receive an automatic year revocation of their license and civil monetary penalties, higher if a commercial driver. For some drivers, the lengthy suspensions and monetary penalties are not enough. In New York state, pleading guilty or being convicted of a DWI carries a mandatory probation sentence.
People convicted of DWI's may be looked upon as ignorant or negligent. From the offender's standpoint, they may have a legitimate problem. the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) defines alcoholism as:
"Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing its development and...