Suspension Pending Prosecution

 

A driver arrested for DWI will typically have their first court appearance within 2 weeks after their arrest.  The initial appearance before a judge is called an "arraignment."  At the arraignment the law requires a defendant be advised of the charges against them, their constitutional rights and that they be allowed to enter a plea (usually "not guilty").  If the arrest is for a first time DWI offense most defendants are not required to post "bail."  Instead, the are "released in their own recognizance" and given a new date to return to court with an attorney.

 

At the arraignment the defendant is also subject to have their driver's license (if NYS license) or their privilege to drive in NYS (out-of-state drivers) "suspended pending" the rest of the prosecution.  NYS DWI law requires the judge handling the arraignment to issue as "suspension pending" if the police have turned in a sworn document showing that a valid "chemical test" was given and that the result showed .08% or more blood alcohol concentration.  atsult showed .08% or more blood alcohol concentration.

 

The "suspension pending" will remain in place until the case is resolved through a plea bargain, or the charge is dismissed by the prosecutor or court or a verdict after trial occurs

 

Hardship License

 

A driver whose license or privilege is "suspended pending" can apply to the court for a "hardship license" or privilege.  A "hardship" provides a very limited right to drive in NYS.  Basically, it entitles a driver to use a vehicle to drive to and from work and home, go to a doctor and sometimes to and from court.  Beyond that it does not provide for any other driving privilege.  For a driver whose employment requires driving it is useless.  The "hardship license" is only available to drivers who have not had a prior DWI/DWAI or DWAI-D conviction in the previous 5 years.

 

Pre-Conviction Conditional License

 

Once the "suspension pending" has been in place for 30 days a driver can apply to the NYS DMV for a "pre-conviction conditional license" (CL).  A CL is a somewhat more flexible form of a restricted license.  It permits a driver to use a vehicle to get to and from work, to drive for work, to drive to school (including taking children to school), drive to doctor's appointments, to drive to and from court and provides a window of 3 hours per week where they can drive wherever they wish.  The conditional license is only available to driver's who have not had a prior alcohol-driving conviction in the previous 5 years.  The pre-conviction conditional license will remain the only driving privilege a driver has until the charges against them are disposed of.

 

Post-Conviction Conditional Licenses

 

If a driver is convicted (by plea or after trial) their license or privilege will be suspended or revoked for a period prescribed by law (see below for the length of suspension/revocation by offense).  If a defendant has not had a prior DWI/DWAI conviction in the prior 5 years they will be eligible to apply to NYS DMV for a "post-conviction conditional license."  In order to be granted a post-conviction conditional license a driver must enroll in the NYS DMV "Drinking Driver Program" (DDP) which is a seven week alcohol abuse prevention course that meets once a week for 2 1/2 hours.  In order to enroll in the DDP NYS DMV must have received proof from the court that the driver has been convicted of DWI, DWAI or DWAI-Drugs.  Since it typically takes 2-3 weeks for this documentation to get from the court and into the DMV computer system, the sentencing court can be requested to "stay" the suspension or revocation for 20 days.  This gives the driver full driving privileges for 20 days from the date of the sentencing for their conviction.

 

There are DMV fees for both "pre-conviction" and "post-conviction" conditional licenses, as well as, for enrolling in the DDP.  For more information about the NYS DMV Drinking Driver Program, click here.

 

 

Suspension & Revocations Resulting From a Conviction

 

OFFENSE

SUSPENSION/REVOCATION

DURATION

 

DWAI (1st Offense)

Suspension

90 days

DWAI (2nd Offense)

Revocation

6 months

DWAI (3rd Offense)

Revocation

1 year

DWI (1st Offense)

Revocation

6 months

DWI (2nd Offense)

Revocation

1 year

DWI (3rd Offense)

Revocation

5 years to Lifetime

Aggravated DWI (1st Off)

Revocation

1 year

Aggravated DWI (2nd Off)

Revocation

2 years

Felony DWI

Revocation

Various

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Law Offices of Glenn W. Magnell
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Phone: 845-294-0585
National College of DUI Defense
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Please note: Information on this website is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should attempt to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of an attorney that is familiar with that area of law, the rules of the court involved and the specific facts of each individual case.

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Unlike most attorneys I came to the practice of law as a second career. Prior to becoming an attorney I spent 20 years as a business executive, eventually running a large subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company. While those years in private business were challenging and rewarding, there came time that I wanted to do something different and more directly related to assisting other people. So, I left the business world, went to law school, passed the New York State bar exam and became a practicing attorney.  You can read my full bio here and meet our staff here.

 

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