According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a conviction that is alcohol-related or drug-related (for example, DWI or DWAI) remains on a person's driver record for 10 years. If a driver is convicted of the same violation during those 10 years, the driver can receive additional penalties due to it being considered a second or subsequent offense.
In New York there are several drug and alcohol related driving violations such as:
- DWI: Driving While Intoxicated; .08 BAC or higher or other evidence of intoxication.
- Aggravated DWI: Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated: .18 BAC or higher.
- DWAI/Alcohol: Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05 BAC to .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
- DWAI/Drug: Driving While Ability Impaired by a single Drug other than alcohol
- DWAI/Combination: Driving While Ability Impaired by a the Combined Influence or Drugs or Alcohol
There are other convictions and accidents of a serious type that can remain on a driver record for more than 10 years. A suspension or a revocation of a driver license that was not cleared or not terminated remains on a driver record indefinitely says the NYS DMV.
As for how long the DWI/DWAI/DUI could affect your car insurance in New York depends upon the rating system of your auto insurance company. First your auto insurance may be canceled due to any suspension resulting from your DWI/DWAI. In New York a policy can only be canceled in mid-term (after 60 days on a new policy) for a few specific reasons in but one reason is the suspension or revocation of a driver's license of the named insured or any other person who customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy (not including administrative suspensions).
So if your driver's license is suspended for the DWI or DWAI then your automobile insurance company could cancel your policy. Whether or not they will drop you will be determined by your insurance carrier's underwriting guidelines and you would receive notification of the cancellation.
If your car insurance is not cancelled due to an alcohol related conviction, your rates will go up by a decent amount due to the seriousness of the offense. By how much and for how long your auto insurance rates will be affected will depend upon the rating system of your insurance carrier. In general an insurance company will look back and rate on your motor vehicle record (MVR) infractions for 3, 5 or 7 years.
The New York Department of Insurance, the insurance regulator for the state, notes that premium surcharges due to accidents or convictions are governed by the NYS Insurance Law and regulations, which allow surcharges to be applied during the experience period (typically three years) for specified incidents, some of which are:
- accidents involving bodily injury or death, or losses to property in excess of $1,000, where the insured driver is at fault; or
- convictions for certain violations, including the following illustrations:
- speeding more than 15 MPH over the legal limit;
- driving while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs;
- operating a vehicle while attempting to avoid apprehension by a law enforcement officer;
- leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it;
- operating a vehicle in a race or speed test;
- driving without a license or knowingly permitting an unlicensed person to drive your vehicle; or
- filing a false insurance claim.
So usually your surcharge with your car insurance company would last 3 years. New York has laws that no policy can be surcharged to a level where the premium exceeds more than three times the base premium for the highest rated vehicle covered by that policy (without the surcharge). Surcharges in NYS only apply to the premiums for Liability, No-Fault, and Collision coverages.
Your auto insurance company must notify you of the exact dollar amount of any surcharges (or even discounts) being applied to your policy as well as the dates of any accidents or convictions on which those surcharges are based. This information must be on, or attached to, your policy declarations page, which contains key identifying information about you and your policy. So likely the surcharge will be for 3 years, though you should speak to your insurance provider to find out for certain how long they will rate and by how much your rates may go up due to the DUI which they can see on your MVR for 10 years.
You asked how long the DWI/DWAI stays on your insurance record, and we told you how long it may be rated on. There really is no record that your insurance company keeps on your violations on and then needs to remove; your insurer looks to your MVR to tell them about your offenses each time they pull this driving record of yours.
If however you were in an accident when you were charged with the DWI/DWAI then there is the CLUE Report which auto insurance companies report to and can get a copy of to see about your claims. CLUE is an acronym for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. C.L.U.E.® is a registered trademark of LexisNexis Risk Solutions. This report is a national insurance industry database of claims and for the personal auto report that it generates it includes losses reported to the database within the last 7 years.
If you have a DWI or DWAI on your driving record in New York then your auto insurance rates will be affected and thus it is a good time to shop around and make sure you are getting the lowest rates possible. CarInsurance.com is an Online Insurance Marketplace™ gives consumers the opportunity to shop and compare insurance companies online. We offer the ability to shop for car insurance online and the ability to purchase your policy directly through CarInsurance.com, so get started with instant car insurance quotes for New York.