Driver's License Issues with a DWI

Fighting for Your Privilege to Drive in Westchester County

If you are facing alcohol or drug related violations, it is important to know that your driver's license may be in jeopardy. Whether you need your driver's license to drive to and from work, or you are a truck driver who depends on your commercial driver's license (CDL) for your livelihood, contact our office to discuss how we can help.

The Westchester County DWI defense lawyers at Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP are dedicated to aggressively fighting for your rights and striving to see that you retain your driver's license. With the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer, you will gain a complete understanding of how a DWI or DWAI charge or conviction will affect your driver's license.

Mandatory Suspensions for DWI and DWAI Convictions

Conviction on a DWI or DWAI charge will result in a mandatory suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. The length of the suspension or revocation is determined by whether you are convicted of DWI or DWAI and can last as much as eighteen months.

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with a .08% BAC as a misdemeanor: 6 month revocation
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with a .08% BAC as a felony: 1 year revocation
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with a .18% BAC or higher: 1 year revocation
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI): 90 day suspension
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-drug): 6 month suspension
  • DWI or DWAI-drug committed within ten (10) years of any previous violation: 1 year revocation.
  • DWAI committed within five (5) years of any previous alcohol or drug related violation: 6 month revocation
  • Drugs: 6 month suspension
  • Driving While Intoxicated with a child in the car less than 16 years of age (Leandra's Law): 18 month suspension

Driver's License Suspension at the First Court Appearance

If a motorist has a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher, or if the motorist has refused the breathalyzer test, the judge will most likely suspend your driving privileges which will apply for so long as your case is unresolved.

Is there anything I can do?

Yes. You can request a "hardship hearing". If a person has no prior alcohol conviction within five years, and did not refuse to take the breathalyzer, the person is entitled to a hardship hearing at the first court appearance. The purpose of the hearing is to demonstrate to the Judge that because they have no other way to get to work, the person needs their license to go to and from work. If the person is successful, the Judge will issue a "hardship license." However the license will only apply to driving to and from work and not for any other purpose.

Whether you win or lose the hardship hearing, after thirty days from the first court date a request may be made to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a conditional driver's license. The conditional license is more expansive than the hardship license because it allows a person to drive to and from work and during work, child care, medical appointments and for a three hours shopping block. The conditional license continues until the case is over.

What if I refused the breathalyzer?

If you refused the breathalyzer test, at your first court appearance the judge will suspend your driver's license and give you a date and time to appear at the DMV hearing which takes place at the DMV. In this instance a person is not eligible for a conditional license.

At the DMV hearing, which is presided over by an Administrative Judge, the Administrative Judge decides if you did in fact "refuse" the breath test. The cop who made the arrest testifies and you have the chance to cross examine him or her. If you win, your driving privileges will be restored at midnight. If you lose then your driving privileges will be revoked for one year even if your drunk driving criminal charge is dismissed by the a judge or jury!

Conditional Driver's License

In some instances, a driver may eligible for a conditional driver's license if their driver's license has been suspended while their case is pending or after they plead guilty (or are found guilty after trial). If a conditional license is granted it will enable a person to:

  • drive to and from and during work;
  • to and from the Drinking Driving Program ("DDP Program") and any related alcohol/drug treatment;
  • to and from school;
  • to and from probation;
  • to and from the DMV;
  • to and from medical treatment;
  • to and from your child's school or day care provider; and
  • for one 3-hour time period per week to run errands
  • If granted by the DMV, the conditional license will be valid until you are eligible for the return of your full unrestricted driver's license.

DMV Driver Responsibility Assessments for a DWI or DWAI conviction

If a person is convicted in New York for an alcohol related traffic violation or crime such as a DWI and DWAI, for each of the three years following that person's conviction, that person will also have to pay a "Driver Responsibility Assessment". If the payments are not made the person's driver's license and privileges will be suspended. It is very important to note that the assessments also apply to drivers with out of state driver's licenses and drivers who do not have a driver's license.

If you are convicted of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Agg–DWI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), or Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI–Drug), or Driving While Ability Impaired by alcohol or drug (DWAI–Combination), or if you are found to have refused to submit to a chemical test, your driver responsibility assessment will be $250 each year.

If you are required to pay the assessment the NYS DMV will mail a notice to you with the information that you will need to pay the assessment.

Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation

If you have been charged with DWI/DWAI we are here to protect your rights and your driver's license. Contact us online or by telephone at (914) 840-5104 to speak with an experienced Westchester County DWI lawyer.

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