New York State (NYS) takes road safety seriously. That is why the courts tend to offer harsh sentences when it comes to driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI). If you or a loved one has recently been charged with a DWI or DWAI, you may be worrying about what happens with your driver’s license amongst other stressful concerns.
Below, the professionals at The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. help explain the New York State conditional driver’s license, what it means to you, and some other options that may be available.
WHAT IS A NEW YORK STATE CONDITIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE?
If you have been charged with a DWI or DWAI, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will immediately suspend or revoke your driving privileges. In other words, the DMV, via the court, will take away your driver’s license. If you are convicted of a DWAI due to the use of alcohol, you will be subjected to a 90-day suspension. For DWAI offenses related to drug or a combination of drug and alcohol use, the suspension will last 6 months. All DWI offenses, however, result in at least a 6 month license revocation.
To help provide some relief, the DMV offers pre- and post-conviction driver’s licenses. Pre-conviction conditional driver’s licenses are only valid after you have waited 30 days to be seen before a judge. However, the post-conviction conditional driver’s license is the most commonly sought version.
A post-conviction conditional driver’s license allows you to drive for specific, limited reasons in accordance with the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1196(7)(a). This includes:
• To and from your place of employment, or during employment as required;
• To and from any class or activity that is considered to be part of your rehabilitation program;
• To and from any class at an accredited or vocational school;
• To and from any court ordered probation-related activities;
• To and from the DMV for purposes related to your driver’s license or program;
• To and from medical treatment for yourself or a member of your household, as determined by a letter from a licensed medical practitioner;
• During a period of three consecutive daytime hours; and
• To and from a location where your child is being cared for, including school and daycare.
ELIGIBILITY FOR A CONDITIONAL LICENSE AFTER A DWI
There are certain requirements that must be met in order for you to obtain a post-conviction conditional driver’s license. These include:
• The conviction is for your first DWI or DWAI offense.
• You must participate in, and complete, the NYS DMV’s Impaired Driver Program (IDP). You should note that this is not required for a pre-conviction conditional driver’s license.
Not everyone is eligible for a post-conviction conditional driver’s license. If you are kicked out of the IDP or you do not enroll, for example, you will not be granted a conditional driver’s license. Other factors that will make you ineligible for a post-conviction conditional driver’s license are:
• If you refused to take a chemical test;
• If you have been convicted of an alcohol-related offense within 5 years of your most recent arrest; or
• If you have had your driver’s license revoked for refusing a chemical test within the last 5 years.
HOW TO OBTAIN YOUR CONDITIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE
You must apply for your conditional driver’s license through your local DMV. As with anything related to the DMV, this license will cost you. In fact, at present, the application fee for a conditional driver’s license is $75. Because this license is contingent upon your enrollment and successful completion of the IDP, you should also note that these classes cost approximately $225 as well.
Some individuals may also be required to take an assessment and receive treatment. Costs will be associated with these requirements and your healthcare professional will likely need to file paperwork with the DMV via the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Service (OASAS) Impaired Driver System (IDS).
HARDSHIP PRIVILEGES & RESTRICTED USE OPTIONS
For individuals who are not eligible for the post-conviction conditional driver’s license, there are two other options that may help you regain your driving privileges.
• Hardship Privilege: A hardship privilege is not granted through the DMV. This driver’s license is actually granted via the court, which means you should consult an experienced traffic lawyer before pursuing one. A hardship privilege will typically only allow you to commute to and from work or school. However, if you have not been convicted of the DWI or DWAI offense after 30 days and have not previously been charged with one of these crimes, you may be eligible for the pre-conviction conditional driver’s license as well.
• Restricted Use Driver’s License: These driver’s licenses are issued via the DMV. Restricted use driver’s licenses are typically reserved for those who have lost their driving privileges for something other than an alcohol- or drug-related offense. However, this is not always the case. Speaking with a qualified and reputable traffic lawyer can help you determine if a restricted use driver’s license may be for you.
LET THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL H. RICCA P.C. HELP YOU FIGHT FOR YOUR LICENSE
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI or DWAI offense, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. is here to help you restore your driving privileges. Losing your driver’s license is overwhelming. Not only can it impact your ability to work, it also limits your ability to enjoy life and do the things you usually do. Grocery shopping, weekend getaways, and even just attending your child’s soccer game or taking your child to a doctor’s appointment– losing your driver’s license means more than just impeding your commute to and from work.
As experienced legal counsel for both traffic and criminal offenses, we know how to make the best of the circumstances of your case. If you believe you will not be eligible for a pre- or post-conviction conditional driver’s license, we can help you apply for a hardship privilege through the courts.
We can also help advise you on the best approach when dealing with the actual court case. From understanding the best way to present evidence, helping you
prepare for your case, and discussing the most likely outcomes – we strive to ensure you receive the best possible verdict.
If you have been charged with an alcohol- or drug-related driving offense, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today for your free consultation at (516) 500-1647!