DWAI – DRUGS

Similar to a DWI conviction, a conviction under the statute for DWAI Drugs is a crime, which will result in a lifetime criminal record. The standard of proof for DWAI Drugs is the same as that for DWAI Alcohol (i.e. a person is guilty of DWAI Drugs if he/she operates a motor vehicle while his/her ability to do so is impaired to any extent by the consumption of certain drugs). Specifically, DWAI Drugs is the same level offense as DWI, because you only need to be impaired — not intoxicated — to be convicted of this offense.
The consequences of DWAI Drugs are virtually identical to those of DWI, with a critical exception. Due to an anomaly in the law, if you are convicted of DWAI Drugs you are not eligible for a conditional license, but may be eligible for a “restricted use” license, which is very similar to a conditional license. Further, the ignition interlock device requirement is not applicable.

DWAI – COMBINED INFLUENCE

The charge of Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Drugs or of Alcohol and any Drug or Drugs is self-explanatory. The sentencing of a conviction for this offense is almost identical to those of DWI, although as with the charge above, the ignition interlock device requirement does not apply.

FELONY LEVEL DWI AND RELATED CHARGES

If you are charged with DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI Drugs or DWAI Combined Influence after having been convicted of one of those offenses (as well as Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Manslaughter) within the past 10 years, you can be charged with a class E felony, and the following are possible sentencing parameters:
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, up to 4 years in state prison, or both;
  • A period of probation of 5 years;
  • Revocation of your driver's license for at least 1 year. DMV will also require evidence of alcohol evaluation and/or rehabilitation before you will be relicensed;
  • Although DMV will revoke your license for a minimum of 1 year, the Court may also, as a condition of probation, prohibit you from driving while you are on probation. In such cases, DMV will not relicense you until you submit proof that you are authorized to obtain your driving privileges by the court or the department of probation;
  • Discretionary revocation of your registration for at least 1 year;
  • A surcharge of $520;
  • A driver responsibility assessment of $250 a year for 3 years;
  • You will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel; and install and maintain an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle that you own or operate during the term of probation or conditional discharge, but no less than 6 months.
If your predicate conviction was within the 5 years, you are subject to these additional mandatory penalties:
  • 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service;
  • You must install an ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle you own or operate; during the license revocation period and upon the termination of such revocation period, for an additional period as determined by the Court; and you must receive an alcohol or substance abuse assessment, which may result in the imposition of treatment as a condition of a sentence of probation or conditional discharge.
If the new charge is more than 5 years from your prior conviction, you may be eligible for a conditional license. However, even if you are eligible to drive, as noted above, the Court may prohibit you from doing so as a condition of probation.

If you are charged with DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI Drugs or DWAI Combined Influence after having been convicted of one of those offenses (or Vehicular Assault in the 1st or 2nd degree or Vehicular Manslaughter) TWICE within the past 10 years, you can be charged with a class D felony, and the following are possible sentencing parameters:
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $10,000, up to 7 years in state prison, or both;
  • A period of probation of 5 years;
  • Revocation of your driver's license for a minimum of 18 months, and DMV will require evidence of alcohol rehabilitation before you will be relicensed;
  • Although DMV will revoke your license for a minimum of 18 months, the Court may also, as a condition of probation, prohibit you from driving while you are on probation. In such cases, DMV will not relicense you until you submit proof that you are authorized to obtain your driving privileges by the court or the department of probation;
  • Discretionary revocation of your registration for at least 1 year;
  • A surcharge of $520;
  • A driver responsibility assessment of $250 a year for 3 years;
  • You will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel; and that you install and maintain an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle that you own or operate during the term of probation or conditional discharge, but not less than 6 months.
If your predicate DWI convictions were within the past 5 years, you are subject to the following additional mandatory penalties:
  • 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service;
  • You must install an ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle you own or operate; during the license revocation period and upon the termination of such revocation period, for an additional period as determined by the Court;
  • You must receive an alcohol or substance abuse assessment, which may result in the imposition of treatment as a condition of a sentence of probation or conditional discharge.
Realistically, however, if you find yourself in this situation you will likely be going to jail or prison for substantially longer than this required minimum period.

Seek representation and legal counsel by contacting our law offices today for an appointment. Call Jeffery P. Santoro Esq. PLLC at (716) 633-3361