The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can issue a conditional driver’s license to a qualified driver whose New York license has been revoked or suspended due to a drug- or alcohol-related offense, most commonly DWI. A conditional license is not granted automatically; if your license has been suspended, you must apply for a conditional license in person at a DMV office.
What is a Conditional License?
A conditional driver’s license is a special type of license that allows you to primarily drive to and from work and drive during working hours (if your job requires driving during work hours). A conditional license allows allows you to drive to and from:
Who is Eligible for a Conditional License After a DWI?
Some people convicted of a DWI are eligible for a conditional license, but not everyone.
A conditional license is usually available to people who are convicted of a first-time DWI or DWAI. To be eligible for a conditional license, you must first be convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense like DWI or WAI. You are then required to enroll in a New York DMV Drinking Driver Program (DDP). This program lasts for several weeks and meets once a week. It must be operated by a DMV-approved independent contractor and there is a fee. If you enroll and continue with the DDP program, along with any treatment mandated by the program, you will receive a conditional license.
There is one exception to the DDP requirement and this is when your license is suspended during your case (pending prosecution) because your chemical test showed a BAC of 0.08% or higher. In this case, you can get a conditional license without taking the DDP classes.
It’s also possible to be eligible for a “Hardship Privilege” if your license is suspended when you first appear at court. This Hardship Privilege is issued by a judge and usually permits you to only drive to and from work and school. After 30 days, you can be eligible for a conditional license after 30 days as long as you have not been convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense in the last 5 years and have not had your license revoked for refusing to submit to a chemical test in the last 5 years. In this case, you will not need to take classes to get a conditional license.
If you refused to take a breath, blood, or urine alcohol test, you will not be able to get a conditional license. It is possible for an experienced DWI attorney to defeat the license revocation or get your license temporarily restored, but the DMV does not allow conditional licenses after a chemical test refusal. Even if you are later found not guilty of the charge but refused a test, you are still not eligible for a conditional license.
You are not eligible for a conditional license if you have been convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense within 5 years of your recent arrest or had your license revoked for refusing to submit to a chemical test within 5 years. There are no exceptions to this.
Conditional Licenses for Out-of-State Drivers
If you are an out-of-state driver charged with DWI in New York, getting a conditional license will be more difficult. The New York DMV cannot grant a conditional license for an out-of-state-license as they have no jurisdiction over another state’s licensing. It may be possible to request adjournment to get a New York license, in which case your New York license would be suspended and you may be granted a conditional license. New York can issue a conditional privilege to drive in the state which works like a conditional license and allows you to drive in New York without a New York license.
If you have been charged with a DWI or your license has already been suspended, a DWI defense attorney can help you protect your rights and seek a conditional license to keep your job.
An interlock device is a breathalyzer that is installed in a driver’s car, which the driver must blow into to start the car. Other names for an interlock device include an ignition interlock device or a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.
The state may require a driver to have an interlock device installed in their car after they receive a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). Just like a handheld breathalyzer, an interlock device has a mouthpiece that the driver blows into. Each interlock device has a certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) programmed into it, and if the driver’s BAC is higher than that amount, the car will not start. The standard BAC maximum with interlock devices is .02, well below the legal limit of .08. For some drivers, one drink is enough to push their BAC to .02 or more.
If the driver’s BAC isn’t under the programmed maximum, then the ignition interlock won’t allow the signal from the car’s starter to reach the engine and the car won’t start. The only way that a car with an interlock device can be started is when the device receives a valid breath sample that’s under the programmed maximum.
What if another person blows into the interlock device for the driver? To prevent this issue, and to prevent the driver from drinking alcohol after starting their car, the interlock device will require additional breath samples at random times while the engine is running. If the driver doesn’t blow into the device, or if they do and their BAC is now above the programmed maximum, then the device will record that, provide a warning message to the driver to stop the car and finally start an alarm. The alarm may consist of the lights flashing, the horn honking or both. This alarm will continue until the driver either provides a clean breath sample or shuts off the car.
There’s a mistaken belief among some drivers that if the driver doesn’t provide a valid breath sample on one of those random requests, the interlock device will shut the car off entirely. This isn’t the case, because that could create a safety hazard. By creating an alarm instead, the interlock device helps to warn other drivers and police that the driver of the car is impaired.
There are fees for an interlock device, which must be paid by the driver. The installation fee for an interlock device is typically between about $100 and $200, and there are also monthly fees of about $60 to $100. The monthly fees are to monitor and calibrate the device. Standard calibration intervals are every 30, 60 or 90 days, and when the driver brings in the interlock device for calibration, the logs from the device are also either printed or downloaded. The authorities may look at this log to see if there were any violations, and if so, the driver could receive additional punishments. In some cases, violations are immediately sent to the authorities wirelessly. Depending on the situation, the authorities could be the court that sentenced the driver, the Department of Motor Vehicles or a probation officer.
Every state allows the use of interlock devices either as part of an offender’s sentence or as a sentencing alternative. In New York, any driver who receives a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction must install an interlock device on their car for a period of at least 6 months.
Interlock devices can be effective in preventing drivers from getting behind the wheel while impaired, and they can also benefit drivers by allowing them to drive again more quickly after a DUI conviction. Instead of a suspended license, a driver may be able to get a restricted license requiring the use of an interlock device, so they’re still able to get to work, school or anywhere else they need to go.
If an offender drives without the required interlock device on their vehicle, possible punishments include a prison sentence, a fine or a revoked driver’s license.
It’s always stressful when a police officer pulls you over after you’ve been drinking. While it’s best to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking, if you are in that situation, what you do and say could be the difference between going home and getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
The first thing to do is pull over calmly and place your hands on the steering wheel, with your window partially rolled down. Be prepared to provide the officer with your driver’s license and your registration. The most important thing to do is to say as little as possible. Don’t immediately ask the officer why he pulled you over, as he’ll tell you soon enough.
It’s likely that the officer will ask you questions, such as “Do you know why I pulled you over?” and “Have you had anything to drink this evening?” Answering these questions is not going to help you, so don’t do it. If the officer already suspects that you’ve been drinking, telling him you haven’t won’t make him change his mind. Telling him you have is an admission that can later work against you in court. Instead, simply explain that you would prefer to exercise your right not to answer any questions. He may try multiple times to try to question you, or make an attempt to convince you that it will turn out better for you if you cooperate. These are all tricks to get you to give up your rights and incriminate yourself.
If the officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, do not do so. Tell him that you do not consent to any field sobriety tests. Just like answer questions, taking a field sobriety test can only work against you. An officer will only ask you to take a field sobriety test if he already suspects that you have been drinking, in which case he is planning to arrest you anyway. He won’t let you go just because you perform well enough on a test. You have nothing to gain, but you can harm your case by providing evidence of impairment.
Now, the officer may ask you to take a breathalyzer. If it’s a voluntary breathalyzer, then you shouldn’t take it. If it’s a mandatory breathalyzer, then you do need to take it or you’ll receive the same penalty as you would have for a DUI. Tell the officer that you don’t consent to any voluntary breathalyzers, but you will consent to a mandatory breathalyzer.
By not answering questions or consenting to anything voluntary, you’re minimizing the amount of evidence that you provide, making it more difficult for the prosecution and easier for your defense attorney if you are arrested and charged with a DUI.
When an officer suspects that you’ve been drinking, they go through the steps of asking questions and conducting field sobriety tests before arresting you because they want to improve the case against you. Otherwise, your defense attorney can later argue that the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, as there wasn’t sufficient evidence that you had been drinking and driving.
When you’ve been drinking and you get pulled over, your interaction with the police officer is all about damage control to give yourself a better chance at going home or winning your court case. The more you talk to the officer, the more opportunities there are for you to incriminate yourself. Performing field sobriety tests or taking a breathalyzer voluntary both simply provide the officer with evidence that can be logged and used against you. When you don’t provide information or consent to anything, that puts the pressure on the officer to decide if there’s sufficient probable cause to arrest you. Even if he does arrest you, your attorney will be in a better position to defend you.
I’ve been charged with drunk driving. Should I get a lawyer?
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance, you should certainly hire a lawyer. While you have the right to defend yourself, an attorney understands the nuance of DUI law and can craft a defense that may get you a favorable outcome in your case. What are some other reasons to hire an attorney?
You May Not Understand the Burden of Proof a Prosecutor Has
According to NYC personal injury lawyer Steve Raiser, You may assume that your case is one that will be easy to prove at trial. However, an attorney may know about a technicality or some other quirk in the law that could render a key piece of evidence inadmissible during trial. He or she may also know about different ways to cross-examine a witness that may cause that witness to offer up conflicting testimony. This may create enough reasonable doubt to have your case thrown out.
An Attorney May Be Effective at Negotiating a Plea Deal
There are many instances in which a prosecutor will work with an attorney to craft a plea deal in a case. While a plea deal results in a conviction on the charge, it may reduce the penalties that an individual may face. For instance, you may pay a smaller fine or keep your license instead of losing it for six months or longer.
Keeping your license may result in additional cost savings because you won’t have to pay to have it reinstated. Having a license may also allow you to keep your job and the reliable paycheck that it brings in. Overall, this may negate the potential cost savings that you may realize by not hiring legal counsel to help with your case.
You Don’t Have to Talk Without an Attorney Present
If you have an attorney, the authorities cannot talk to you without him or her present during questioning. This may prevent you from saying or doing something that can be used as evidence in your case. For instance, a prosecutor may claim that he or she will consider a lighter sentence if you cooperate.
However, by admitting how much you had to drink or that you drove after drinking earlier in the day, you are undermining your ability to defend yourself. An attorney will be able to detect if a shady tactic is being used against you and prevent it from being used against you. Without an admission of guilt from a defendant, it may be difficult or impossible for a prosecutor to prove all elements of the charge against you.
An Attorney May Leverage His or Her Track Record
An attorney who has a track record of winning DUI cases may be able to leverage that success into obtaining a favorable result in your case. If a prosecutor has struggled winning cases against your attorney in the past, it may increase the odds of getting a plea deal without having to go to trial.
In some cases, it may lead to charges being thrown out without any penalties at all. In the event that legal counsel doesn’t have a relationship with the prosecutor, he or she may have one with the judge. This may be used to get a lighter sentence or to obtain key rulings during the legal process.
There are many potential penalties that can come from a DUI conviction. They can have an impact on your professional and personal lives for months or years after the case is over. Therefore, it is important that you have a good lawyer who can act as an advocate in the courtroom and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
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