Westchester Attorney for a First DWI Offense
If you are facing drunk driving charges, you are likely wondering what happens if you are convicted of a DWI. The answer depends on many different factors. There are several programs and requirements relating to DWI convictions in New York that we’ll take a closer look at below.
DWI convictions can have very serious consequences. One might encounter a number of penalties, fines and fees. They might also experience limited opportunities in life because of their criminal record. These consequences might seem daunting, but it’s important that someone facing a DWI charge not give up hope.
An attorney can help clients understand and address the challenges in a DWI case. The sooner an attorney gets involved in a case, the better able they will be to work towards the best result. If you have been arrested for a DWI in New York, call Michael Litman as soon as possible. Our team will get to work on your case immediately, looking for ways to have the charges against you reduced.
Programs and Requirements Related to DWI Convictions in New York
From impaired driving programs and ignition interlocks to DMV fees, a DWI conviction can involve several required programs and fines. Though we are providing much of this information below, you should know that you don’t need to have a complete understanding of how a New York DWI conviction might affect your life. To get started, all you need to do is contact your attorney. However, knowing what happens if you are convicted of a DWI in New York can make the process easier to cope with.
So, let’s look at some of the common consequences of a New York DWI conviction.
Impaired Driving Program
If you are convicted of a DWI or DWAI-related offense, you will be required to take the Impaired Driving Program (IDP), formally known as DDP. The DMV will refer you to a program, which will consist of 16 class hours divided into one 2- to 3-hour class per week, for seven straight weeks. The DMV will charge you a $75 fee, and the program can charge you up to $234 in fees. Upon enrollment in the IDP, you may be eligible for a post-conviction conditional license if it is your first DWI-related conviction or if it has been more than five years since you previously took the IDP. The DMV provides information about IDP.
Victim Impact Panel (MADD VIP)
The VIP is a requirement of DWI and DWAI convictions in some counties. It is a one-time group lecture that discusses the harm that DWI can do. In Westchester it is given once every other month at the Westchester County Center, and it costs $100 to attend. Attendees of the program can be administered a breath test when entering the facility. Upon completion of the VIP, a certificate of completion must be given to the court. It can be done before or after you finish the court case. More information can be found on the website for Westchester VIP.
Post-Conviction Conditional License
After you are convicted, you may be eligible for a post-conviction conditional license after enrolling in the IDP, if you do not have a prior conviction for DWI or DWAI or have completed the Impaired Driving Program (IDP – discussed above) within the prior five years. With a conditional license pursuant to VTL § 1196(7)(a), you can drive:
- To and from your place of employment
- For work, if your employment requires operation of a motor vehicle during work hours
- To and from a class or activity that is an authorized part of an alcohol or drug program
- To and from an accredited school or institution for vocational training
- To and from court-ordered probation activities
- To and from the DMV to transact business related to this license or program
- For a three-hour consecutive daytime period, on a day you’re not working
- To and from necessary medical exam or treatment program, or for a member of your household (for which a written letter for a doctor is required)
- To and from a place, including a school, where your children are cared for, and that is necessary to regularly bring them to in order for you to maintain employment or enrollment at your school.
Your attorney will advise you on how to go about getting a post-conviction conditional license. If you’re not sure whether you are eligible, consult your attorney so they can begin the process.
Contact the New York DWI attorney Michael Litman by calling (914) 268-6855 or filling out our online contact form. We have years of experience helping people deal with the challenges of a DWI related charges. We also offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to call us as soon as possible.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
If you are convicted (by plea or after a trial) of a misdemeanor or felony DWI involving alcohol, you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) into any vehicle you own or operate for a minimum of six months. The court will sentence you to have the IID for the entire length of the conditional discharge period (one year for misdemeanors or three years for a felony), but you may be able apply to the court to shorten the time after six months; it will be up to the sentencing judge to determine whether it should be shortened. If you are sentenced to probation, the probation department can mandate that the IID be installed on your vehicle for the entire length of probation. The IID is not required if you are convicted of the violation DWAI (1192.1) or Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (1192.4). If you do not own or have access to a vehicle, you do not need to install the IID into anything; however, any vehicle you drive during the conditional discharge period will need to have an IID installed in it, even if you don’t own it (e.g., a friend’s car, relative’s car, rental car, etc.).
In Westchester County, the probation department monitors the IID usage, but the device is installed and maintained by a private vendor. New York State uses IIDs with cameras installed in the vehicle, so a picture can be taken by the IID to show the person whose breath registers positive for alcohol. Most courts in Westchester require installation and verification of installation (by Probation) of the IID prior to sentencing. If you are not installing an IID because you do not own any vehicle, Probation will be required to verify that prior to sentence.
The IID itself is a breath test device, which requires you to blow into the device and register no alcohol on your breath in order to start your vehicle. If you are able to start your vehicle, the IID will require random retesting during the time that you are operating your vehicle, to make sure you don’t drink after starting it. If your blow registers above a certain amount of alcohol (usually .05% – the minimum to be charged with a DWAI), it may be considered a violation of your conditional discharge, and you may be required to return to court to address the violation, which could lead to re-sentencing if the violation is serious enough.
A common consequence of an impaired driving charge is DMV fees. It’s very important to pay the fees given by the DMV. Failure to do so could result in the loss of driving privileges. Some of these fees are penalties for the charge against you, while others are related to DMV assessments and re-licensing. Let’s take a closer look at the DMV fees you might be facing after a DWI charge.
- Driver Responsibility Assessment: If you are convicted of a DWI or DWAI, you must pay an assessment of $750, which can be broken down into three yearly payments of $250. Failure to pay will result in the suspension of your license or privilege to drive in NY.
- Driver Re-licensing Fee: In order to restore your license after suspension or revocation, you will be required to pay a re-licensing fee to the DMV of approximately $50 to $100.
- Civil Penalty: If you violated the Zero Tolerance Law (under-21 alcohol), or refused to take a chemical test, the DMV will charge an additional civil penalty. The penalty for a Zero Tolerance Law violation is $125. The penalty for refusing the chemical test ranges from $500 to $750.
These fees should be a priority for anyone charged with a DWI. If you’re unsure what fees you should be paying, contact Michael Litman so he can help you determine any outstanding fees you might be facing.
What Happens After You Were Convicted of a DWI: “Collateral Consequences”
Whether or not you’ve heard the term “collateral consequences,” you’re likely already familiar with some of them. The term is used to describe the consequences of a conviction that aren’t directly related to the state’s punishment. Collateral consequences can be a challenge for anyone that has faced a DWI conviction. Though the term is often used in the context of felons or incarcerated people, it also applies to those who were convicted of misdemeanors and never served jail or prison time after their conviction.
So, what are these collateral consequences? They mostly include the opportunities that are taken away after a conviction. Employment and business opportunities can be greatly affected by a criminal record. Someone convicted of a crime might also face limited educational, financial and housing opportunities. In some cases, government benefits can be impacted by a criminal record.
These Consequences Present Unfair Hurdles in Life
In theory, the point of our justice system is to reform and rehabilitate people who have committed crimes. People make mistakes, and they deserve opportunities for redemption. Once someone pays the price for their crime, they should be given the chance to start a new chapter.
Unfortunately, our system often presents convicted people with a new set of challenges in life. This makes it more difficult to re-enter and contribute to society.
Criminal justice reform advocates are constantly fighting to make our system fairer for people who have been convicted of a crime, but criminal defense attorneys are the front line in the fight against unfair treatment of those in the system. We know that we must work within the limitations of our justice system to help our clients seek every possible advantage.
In other words, criminal defense attorneys know how to work with the system we have, not the system we wish we had. If you’re facing criminal charges, your first call should be to your attorney.
If you don’t have an attorney, we encourage you to contact Michael Litman to schedule a free consultation.
What to Do After a DWI Arrest in New York
If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in New York, remember these general guidelines…
- Don’t resist arrest. Even if you are being treated unfairly by the authorities, you’ll only be hurting yourself by being confrontational with police. Be peaceful and allow your attorney to deal with your unfair treatment.
- Don’t talk at length to the authorities. What you say will be used against you, so don’t say anything you don’t need to say.
- Call an attorney. The only thing you should say to the authorities is that you want to call your attorney. Your attorney will immediately get to work on your case to make sure you are treated fairly and that you’re positioned for the best available defense.
From the moment you first interact with the police to the time that you stand before a judge, there is the potential to do your case harm or to help your chances of a favorable outcome. Your attorney will guide you through the process to ensure that you know what to do and what not to do.
Do You Need a DWI Attorney? Contact Michael Litman Today.
A DWI arrest can result in several penalties. Not only will you be forced to deal with fines, license suspensions and, in some cases, jail time or probation, you could also experience other non-legal consequences, such as limited educational, employment, loan and housing opportunities. These challenges call for a skilled DWI attorney.
Your attorney will first try to have the charge against you reduced. If that isn’t possible, then they will fight for you all the way through trial. In our legal system, there is no substitute for a skilled, experienced advocate who looks for every advantage in your case.
If you’re looking for a DWI attorney to handle your case, call Michael Litman immediately. Michael Litman has been defending his clients around the NYC Metro area since 2007. He founded the Law Office of Michael D. Litman in 2014, to focus exclusively on DWI and criminal defense cases.
We have the knowledge and the experience to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your DWI or criminal case. If you have questions or need to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us today. Our firm will work with you from your arrest all the way through to trial.
For answers to your questions or to set up a consultation, contact our Westchester first DWI offense lawyer online or call us at (914) 268-6855.
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