Driving while intoxicated (DUI ) is a serious crime in New York, and if you’re convicted, the legal and personal consequences can be severe. The wisest way to avoid DUI trouble is to avoid drinking and driving altogether. Call a cab, designate a driver, or just abstain. Although sentences can be tough, a DWI arrest doesn’t automatically mean a conviction; good DWI lawyers in New York win cases for their clients in a variety of ways. If you face a DWI charge anywhere in the Queens area, obtain legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

While you definitely do not want to be convicted of DUI in New York, this state’s DUI penalties are quite lenient when compared against other nation’s DUI laws. Your first DUI offense in El Salvador, for example, is your last. You’ll be taken before a firing squad. Bulgaria is better; they don’t execute you until you receive a second DWI conviction. South Africa incarcerates you for ten years for a first offense and fines you $10,000. France confiscates your car after your first DWI conviction and takes your license for three years. Finland and Sweden send DWI first offenders to a year at hard labor. Russia revokes your license permanently, but Norway doesn’t permanently revoke your license until your second DWI conviction. In Sweden, your fine depends upon how much you have in the bank, and if you have no money, they take your car.

If you’re charged with DWI in New York City or anywhere in Queens, it’s a criminal offense, and you’ll need the help of a good Queens DUI lawyer. It’s more or less the same in every state except one. Wisconsin is still the only state where a first offense for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence (DUI) is not a criminal charge. In Wisconsin, the first offense is called “operating while intoxicated” or “OWI,” and offenders are issued merely a citation. An OWI in Wisconsin is punishable by a fine of $150 to $300 and a possible, brief license suspension, but no jail time. Additionally, Wisconsin is the only state with a law that explicitly prohibits law enforcement agencies from conducting sobriety checkpoints. That situation may not last long, however, as Wisconsin has become the target of increasing criticism from health experts, legislators, and victims’ rights lobbyists.

In the state of New York, DUI is always treated as a crime. In fact, the trend in New York for several years has been less lenience in first-offense DWI cases, so if you (or your teenager) face this charge, don’t anticipate a “slap on the wrist” just because it’s a first offense. In the New York City and Queens areas, you’ll need the help of an experienced Queens DUI attorney who can look at the specifics of your case, explain your options, and work on your behalf for justice. Even if it’s “only” a first offense, if you face any DWI charge in New York, speak with an experienced Queens DWI lawyer as quickly as possible.