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of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can issue a conditional driver’s license to a qualified driver whose New York license has been revoked or suspended due to a drug- or alcohol-related offense, most commonly DWI.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.
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