If you think New York is doing everything possible to make sure you don’t drive if you’re intoxicated, you’re right. There are literally thousands of reasons why the state is so determined to keep you sober behind the wheel. People die each day on the roads and even on the state’s waterways due to a person’s choice to drink and drive. Why wouldn’t both New York BWI and DWI convictions be counted together in court?
New York judges must now consider any incidents that involve alcohol and operating a vehicle. If you’ve already been convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI) and are now facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges, your judge will see all charges and convictions. Their discretion will determine the extent of extra consequences for the DWI, on top of mandatory fines, court costs, an ignition interlock requirement and more.
The New York BWI penalties are no less strict than those for a DWI. Granted, you won’t have an ignition interlock requirement on your boat or your vehicle. But a first offense BWI means you’ll have a fine, you could spend up to a year in jail and you’ll lose your watercraft for a year. A second BWI is a Class E felony and it gets worse from there.
What New York is really saying to everyone is that operating any vehicle while intoxicated is a bad move. There are plenty of ways to have fun, enjoy a few adult beverages and not put the lives of others in danger on the roads or the waterways. Counting all offenses that show a problem with judgment after drinking puts responsibility back in the hands of those holding up another drink, wondering if they’re okay to drive. The response to that question is an affirmative no, and the state will back up that stance with each New York BWI and DWI violation that you make.
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