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How long does a DWI or DWAI stay on your record in New York?


Question: How long does a DWI or DWAI stay on your record in New York?  I mean a)driving record and b) insurance record.

Answer:  A DWI or DWAI stays on your New York driving record for 10 years. As for the affect to your car insurance, it varies.

Refer to our DUI insurance page, which covers information that applies to New York's DWI and DWAI charges.

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 New York DMV.

As for how long the DWI/DWAI/DUI could affect your car insurance in New York, it depends upon the rating system of your car insurance company.

DWI and car insurance

First, your car 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, 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).

Whether or not your insurer will drop you will be determined by your insurance carrier's underwriting guidelines. If you were to be canceled, you would receive notification by your insurer.

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 state 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 New York only apply to the premiums for liability insurance, no-fault (personal injury protection), 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.

Likely the surcharge will be for three 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.  Instead, your insurer simply looks to your MVR to tell what offenses are recently on there or still on there to rate you on.

If, however, you were in an accident when you were charged with the DWI/DWAI then there is a claims report that car insurance companies report to and can obtain a copy of to see about your claims.

If you have a DWI or DWAI on your driving record in New York, then your car 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 and compare car insurance companies in New York.

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2 Responses to "How long does a DWI or DWAI stay on your record in New York?"
  1. Visitor

    The insurance company can only charge extra for a DWI for three years? That sounds like a very short time. I don't know if I am reading this clearly.

  2. Anonymous

    The information was very helpful, althoughI was looking for a ball park number nothing exact because I know everyone's situation is different. A number with in $1,000 plus or minus would have been generally acceptable.

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