New York DUI Insurance Laws

Being charged with a DUI in NY will result in up to a $10,000 fine, seven years in jail, and a year-long license suspension. NY doesn't require SR-22 insurance.

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Nearly one-third of fatalities in New York involve intoxication
  • DUI charges in New York depend on the BAC and the situation
  • New York car insurance companies charge higher premiums after a DUI conviction
  • Either way, New York has the Implied Consent Law and Leandra’s Law to enforce DUI charges
  • New York has a three-tiered system for DUI penalties, each one more severe than the last
  • New York does not require an SR-22 form after a DUI; they only require the minimum liability coverage

Not every state in the U.S. can claim such a broad range of activities. However, like other states, New York has problems with drivers who choose to drive while intoxicated. Because of this, there are DUI laws and regulations in New York for law enforcement and licensed drivers in the state.

Part of New York’s solution to curtail drunk driving incidents is its membership with the Interstate Drivers License Compact, which is an agreement between various states to share conviction information regarding drunk driving. Offenses such as a DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are reported to the home state of a driver.

Being convicted of a DUI will greatly reduce the chance of receiving affordable rates for car insurance.

The best thing to do it to use our comparison search! It will compare the best auto insurance companies and find the most affordable car insurance for your needs!

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Requirements for DUI Charges in New York

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of New York. When a person is stopped by law enforcement, they are subject to criminal charges if the officer suspects drug or alcohol use.

The requirements for DUI charges in New York are based on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and other factors like:

  • It is a crime for any driver to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher.
  • A commercial driver with a BAC of .04 percent or higher is subject to arrest.
  • A minor under 21 with a BAC of .02 percent or higher is also subject to arrest.

In some cases, a driver can still be charged even if their BAC is not over the limit. Most people are affected by alcohol or drugs differently. Some might become impaired by a small consumption, while others require more before their driving ability is impaired.

Several key factors determine the level of impairment from drug or alcohol use. Physical appearance, observation of driving behavior, and the results of field sobriety tests work collectively to determine impairment.

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New York DUI Laws

New York enforces other laws in addition to the basic law for driving under the influence.

Similar to other states, New York follows the Implied Consent Law.

According to this law, anyone who operates a vehicle in New York automatically consents to a chemical test when drunk driving is suspected.

The tests may involve blood, urine, breath, or saliva samples. These samples are taken to determine whether alcohol or drugs are in the bloodstream. Refusal to submit to these tests can lead to criminal charges.

In 2009, New York enacted Leandra’s Law, named after an 11-year-old girl who was killed in a drunk driving crash. Leandra’s Law is considered one of the toughest drunk driving laws. Anyone—even first time offenders—who drives drunk when children under 16 are present in the vehicle is charged with a felony. The penalty is up to four years in prison.

Prior out-of-state convictions for DUI charges are counted as a prior conviction in New York for sentencing purposes.

For example, a driver is convicted of one DUI charge in Connecticut. He or she is arrested and charged in New York with a DUI, which counts as a second conviction in New York, and he or she is sentenced as a second-time offender. Just think what a penalty like this will do to your car insurance rates!

Penalties for Violating DUI Laws in New York

New York has a three-tier system for DUI violations. Drivers who receive three or more DUI offenses are subject to permanent license revocation. The first DUI conviction in New York is a misdemeanor; the second and thirds offenses are felonies.

First DUI Offense Penalties

  • $500–$1,000 fine; a BAC of .18 percent or higher receives a $1,000–$2,500 fine
  • Up to one year of jail time
  • Six-month minimum drivers license revocation
  • Minimum six-month ignition interlock restriction. An ignition interlock device is installed in the driver’s vehicle. The vehicle will not start without a breath sample.

Second DUI Offense Penalties

The penalties for a second DUI offense are based on a conviction within 10 years of the first offense.

  • $1,000–$5,000 fine
  • Up to four years of jail time or 30 days of community service
  • Drivers license revocation for one-year minimum; 18 month minimum with a BAC of .18 percent or higher
  • Minimum six-month ignition interlock restriction
  • Assessment and treatment for alcohol use

Third DUI Offense Penalties

As with the second offense, these penalties apply to a third conviction within 10 years.

  • $2,000–$10,000 fine
  • Up to seven years of jail time or 60 days of community service
  • Drivers license revocation for minimum of one year; 18 month minimum with a BAC of .18 percent or higher
  • Minimum six-month ignition interlock restriction
  • Assessment and treatment for alcohol use

In addition to the above penalties, drivers also must pay a crime victims fee and mandatory conviction surcharges.

Typically, penalties are more severe if second and third convictions occur within five years of the first conviction.

Drivers also face penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test. These penalties are also in addition to the penalties and fines from convictions.

First Refusal

  • $500 civil penalty fine
  • Drivers license revocation for one year; 18 months for a commercial driver

Second Refusal

  • $750 civil penalty fine
  • Drivers license revocation for 18 months; permanent for a commercial driver

Third or More Refusal

  • May lead to permanent driver’s license revocation, depending on when the previous refusals occurred

DUI Statistics for New York

In 2009, 36,093 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. Of that number, 279 were under 18. Fatalities occurred where 66 percent of the drivers had a BAC of .15 or higher; 69 percent were repeat offenders. Car insurance accident statistics are different between states.

In 2008, at least one driver in New York had a BAC of .08 percent or higher, resulting in 320 fatal accidents, whereas one driver had a BAC between .01 and .07 percent. 68 fatalities occurred.

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DUI Insurance Options for New York

Most states require drivers to have SR-22 car insurance before reinstating their driver’s license. This is not an auto insurance requirement in New York; however, drivers convicted of a DUI must carry the state’s minimum car liability insurance coverage.

Prior driving convictions and license revocations can lead to expensive insurance policies. Drivers with a negative driving record can benefit by comparing car insurance quotes from different insurance companies.

At a minimum, drivers must carry the following car liability insurance coverage:

  • $25,000–$50,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000–$100,000 fatality
  • $10,000 property damage

The bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage pays for serious injuries or fatalities caused by an insured driver. In addition to paying up to the limits, the insurance provider provides legal representation if the insured driver is sued.

Property damage liability (PDL) coverage pays for damages to property caused by the insured driver. This type of coverage also applies to family members who cause an accident with the insured vehicle.

Reasons for Severe DUI Penalties in New York

Drunk driving penalties carry harsh penalties due to the nature of the crimes. Statistics and facts cannot easily measure the catastrophic impact on innocent lives. Driving is considered a privilege and drivers are expected to be responsible for exercising it.

The goal of the severe penalties is to discourage drunk driving as much as possible.

In New York, the NY Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cite interesting facts about DUI-related accidents.

Nearly one-third of all fatalities that occur in New York involve drivers and pedestrians who are intoxicated. Drivers under 21 are likely to be involved in an alcohol-related fatal crash three times the rate of older drivers.

The risk of a car crash is greater as a driver’s BAC level increases. With a BAC of .08 percent, a driver is susceptible to causing a car crash at four times the rate of a sober driver. This chance increases to 25 percent with a BAC of .16 percent. Don’t drink and drive!

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