New Year's Eve is one of the busiest times of year for DWI enforcement, as police head out in full force to protect potentially drunk drivers from hurting themselves and other motorists on a night that typically involves drinking alcohol.
With that in mind, we want to know if you think the state's laws are strict enough.
New York law says driving under the influence will not be tolerated on the state's roadways. Those who violate that law may face a fine, time in jail and license suspension.
Penalties for DWI also increase with each conviction, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The maximum penalites are as follows:
- First conviction, misdemeanor -- One year license suspension if under 21; six-month suspension if over 21. Fines between $500 and $1,000. Up to one year in jail.
- Second conviction, within 10 years, Class E Felony -- License suspended for one year or until 21 years old, whichever is longer; one year suspension if over 21. Fines between $1,000 and $5,000. Up to four years in jail.
- Third conviction, within 10 years, Class D Felony -- Same license revocation laws as above. Fines between $2,000 and $10,000. Up to seven years in jail.
- Any driver convicted of a DWI must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), a mechanism installed on the dashboard of a vehicle, for at least six months following the conviction. The operator must breathe into it before starting the vehicle and if the breath-alcohol content (BAC) is over a certain amount the car will not start, according to Ignition Interlock Device Org. The requirement of an IID is a new weapon in the state's DUI penalty arsenal.
New York's DWI Fatality Stats
The number of DWI-related fatalities in New York in 2010 placed the state 24th in the nation, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) .
In the past five years alone there have been 1,845 fatalities related to drunk driving in New York; 364 of those occurred in 2010. MADD also reports that 30 percent of traffic deaths in 2010 were caused by DWIs.
With these stats in mind, do you think the state's DWI penalties are strict enough? Log your answer in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.