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Written By:Adam H. Rosenblum
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in every state, with New York being one of the harshest in terms of penalties and fines. DWI convictions can make it difficult to pursue job opportunities that require your license to be in excellent standing, such as getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or working for a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Even if a clean driving record isn’t a job requirement, it may be challenging or even impossible to commute to and from work if your license is suspended or revoked due to a DWI offense.
A DWI can stay on your criminal record for as long as 15 years. Fortunately, as of 2017, getting a criminal record sealed in New York under certain circumstances is now possible.
DWI Penalties in New York State
A person charged with a DWI in New York can expect to face severe consequences. A first-time offender can be incarcerated for up to one year in county jail, pay up to $1,000 in fines, have their license suspended, and contend with up to a year of having a mandatory ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
If the DWI offense isn’t the first, penalties can include up to seven years in jail, fines of up to $7,000, and a permanent license suspension. In addition, judges presiding over DWI cases in New York have broad discretionary power and can impose additional penalties as they see fit.
Whether it’s a first offense or a subsequent one, hiring an attorney at the outset is a wise decision. But even after a DWI conviction, an attorney can help ease the stigma – and negative issues – that go along with being found guilty of driving while intoxicated by helping to seal the record.
What Is Record Sealing?
Record sealing in New York means that a person’s criminal record information has been sealed, and the general public can no longer access the information. It is important to note that having a record sealed does not entirely erase the event. Government agencies will still have access to the DWI record, which can be used when sentencing for future crimes. However, most prospective employers, auto insurance companies, and others will not be able to see the record once it is sealed.
DWI Record Sealing in New York
Beginning in 2017, New York State allows certain DWI convictions to be sealed. However, 10 years must have passed since conviction before a record can be sealed. In addition, the person must have no pending charges or recent convictions and no more than two convictions on their record.
A motion must be filed by the person seeking their record to be sealed. A prosecutor may contest this motion if they think that sealing the record may allow the person to commit another crime or if they believe public safety would be at risk. Having an attorney to argue in one’s favor can offset the other side’s claims.
In short, record sealing can benefit those looking for a fresh start after being convicted of a DWI.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Filing for record sealing in New York can be quite difficult. The person must prove that sealing the conviction will not endanger the public and that the conviction has had an unnecessary impact on their lives, such as trouble finding employment or housing. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help gather this information and fight to clear the person’s name. An attorney will provide guidance and support throughout the sealing proceedings.
Rosenblum Law has decades of combined experience assisting our clients in all criminal defense matters, including expungements and record sealing. No matter how simple or complicated the case, our clients rest easy knowing we are working with and for them every step of the way. Call us today at 888-815-3649 for a free consultation.
How long will a DWI stay on my record?
A misdemeanor or felony or felony conviction is permanent. Therefore, a DWI conviction will lead to a permanent criminal record for the convicted. In New York, this record is not eligible to be expunged, however under certain circumstances, it may be sealed. A DWI will stay on a person’s public driving record for 15 years from the date of conviction but it will also be forever listed on their permanent “lifetime” driving record.
Who can see my criminal record once it is sealed?
After a record is sealed, the general public cannot access the information. However, certain employers and government agencies will have access to the records if requested. This includes the following:
- Employers when you apply as a police officer
- When applying for a firearm license
- Courts and corrections departments
- Federal and state law enforcement
Can I drive for Uber after receiving a DWI?
If your background check reveals a felony DUI within the past 7 years, you generally cannot drive for Uber.
Can you drive for uber with a DUI? generally no, here’s why. Ridester.com. Helling, B. (2022, August 25).
Driving while intoxicated in New York. Rosenblum Law. (2022, June 13).
The consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York – rosenblum law. Rosenblum Law. (2022, November 10).
About The Author
Adam is the founding attorney and principal of Rosenblum Law. With more than two decades of legal experience in numerous areas of law practice, his primary focus is law firm management and business development.Read More
How to Cite Rosenblum Law’s Article
Adam H. Rosenblum (Apr 21, 2023). DWI Record Sealing in New York. Rosenblum Law Firm, https://rosenblumlaw.com/our-services/seal-criminal-record-in-new-york/dwi/
Adam H. Rosenblum "DWI Record Sealing in New York". Rosenblum Law Firm, Apr 21, 2023. https://rosenblumlaw.com/our-services/seal-criminal-record-in-new-york/dwi/