New York DWI and License Suspension Attorney
Defending License Suspensions in Westchester and White Plains
A drunk driving charge can cause major problems in someone’s life. You’ll not only be forced to deal with jail time, fines and the many non-legal consequences of the charge, you will also have your license suspended, which can create even more obstacles.
Without a license, many people accused of drunk driving will struggle to get to work, pick up their children from school, go to the doctor and, in some cases, perform key aspects of their job. The length of your license suspension depends on many factors, which we’ll discuss below. However, you should know that it may be possible for your attorney to have your driving privileges partially reinstated under certain conditions.
Michael has years of experience helping people charged with DWI. He will review your case and look for ways to have charges against you dismissed or lessened. If you need to request a partial reinstatement of driving privileges, contact our team to find out whether you might be eligible.
DWI, BAC – What Do All These Letters Mean?
Our criminal justice system doesn’t always make things easy on people charged with a crime. The language and acronyms used in these cases can be quite confusing. Before we review some of the common license suspension periods following a DWI in New York, let’s stop to define some of the terms we’ll be using below.
- DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.”
- DWAI stands for “Driving While Abilities Impaired.”
- A driver’s level of intoxication is measured by his or her blood alcohol concentration, or BAC.
Though a DWAI is often considered a “lesser” charge than a DWI, it can still result in a license suspension.
How Long Is Your License Suspended After a DWI?
In New York, your license can be suspended or revoked following your arrest, and the amount of time you will go without driving privileges depends on the charges against you. A revocation means that your driving privileges no longer exist, while a suspension means that your driving privileges are taken away only for a designated period.
So, how long is your license suspended after a DWI in New York? Here are some of the guidelines listed by the DMV.
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated – a BAC of 0.18% or higher or a DWI with a child 15 years old or younger in vehicle – results in a one-year license revocation.
- DWI with 0.08% BAC – results in a 6-month license revocation.
- DWI with 0.08% BAC committed within 10 years of any previous violation – results in a one-year revocation.
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) – results in a 90-day license suspension.
- DWAI committed within 5 years of any previous alcohol or drug-related violation – results in a 6-month license revocation.
We offer an aggressive defense for our clients. Upon accepting your case, we immediately get to work on your behalf, looking for ways to lessen the charges against you or, if possible, have them dismissed entirely.
We can also help you obtain a conditional or restricted license if you are eligible. These conditional licenses can help you get to and from work or any needed medical care. Contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman today to get started.
What If You Are Not Convicted of a DWI and Your License Is Suspended?
Unfortunately, your driving privileges can be suspended even before you are even convicted of an impaired-driving charge. There are some ways to potentially have your driving privileges reinstated if you meet certain criteria set forth by the courts.
Let’s look at a couple of approaches attorneys use to get their clients’ driving privileges partially reinstated. The two options your attorney might pursue are hardship licenses and pre-conviction conditional licenses.
License Suspension at the Arraignment
Suspensions Pending Prosecution (VTL § 1193(2)(e)(7))
If you took a chemical test (of your breath, blood or urine) when you were arrested for DWI, which showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, the judge will suspend your license at your arraignment. That suspension will last for the pendency of the case, meaning from the date of arraignment, until you are sentenced on the case, or the case is dismissed.
The Hardship Privilege/License
If your driver’s license was valid prior to the above-mentioned suspension by the judge, and you are not charged with a refusal to take a chemical test, you may be eligible to get a hardship privilege to drive. In order to get a hardship privilege, you must demonstrate an extreme hardship, which is defined by VTL § 1193(2)(e)(7)(e) as “the inability to obtain alternative means of travel to or from the licensee’s employment, or to or from necessary medical treatment for the licensee or a member of the licensee’s household, or if the licensee is a matriculating student enrolled in an accredited school, college or university travel to or from such licensee’s school, college or university if such travel is necessary for the completion of the educational degree or certificate.”
You (through your attorney) have the burden of establishing that there is an extreme hardship, which cannot be based only upon your own testimony. You will need to present the following types of evidence:
- Testimony of a witness that can confirm the extreme hardship, which can include your spouse, family member, co-worker or friend;
- Testimony that there is no one else that can drive you to your destination;
- Proof of the location of the place you need to go (work, school, medical facility, etc.);
- Proof of your schedule (hours at work, class times, etc.);
- Information regarding the cost of taxi or Uber service from home to your destination;
- Proof of your income to show that taxi service is unaffordable;
- Information regarding access to public transportation between home and your destination, as well as the amount of time the trip would take; and
- Proof of any medical condition that would make it hard to take public transportation.
It will be in the judge’s discretion about the manner in which to hold the hearing and determine whether the proof is sufficient to grant the hardship privilege. Depending on the jurisdiction, some judges will ask for an offer of proof without a formal hearing; other judges will want a full hearing. Either way, you will need your witness and proof in order for the hardship privilege to be considered by the court.
You are not eligible for a hardship privilege in the following situations:
- If you are charged with refusal to take a chemical test (breath, blood or urine);
- If you had a DWI conviction within the last five years; or
- If you drive for work (delivery, UPS, taxi, etc.), you can use the hardship privilege only to drive to and from work, not to drive for work.
Pre-Conviction Conditional License
If your driver’s license was valid prior to the above-mentioned suspension by the judge, and you are not charged with a refusal to take a chemical test, you may be eligible for a pre-conviction conditional license. If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from the DMV within 30 days of your arraignment date, with instructions for getting a pre-conviction conditional license (see post-conviction conditional license details below to see where conditional driving is permitted). If you have a driver’s license from a state other than NY, you’ll need to obtain a driver’s abstract from your home state and submit that abstract to the NY DMV, in order to get a conditional driving privilege in NY.
If you are not from New York but are arrested in New York for a DWI, the process is more complicated, but it is still possible to receive partial driving privileges. We encourage you to contact Michael D. Litman at (914) 499-0571 or to fill out our online contact form to get started.
What to Do If Charged with a DWI in New York
The most important thing to remember when arrested for a DWI in New York is that you should immediately ask for an attorney once you are placed under arrest. The police will continue to ask you questions, and the answers you give them could have a significant negative impact on your case.
Upon arrest, request an attorney and say nothing else to the authorities. Your attorney will handle all necessary correspondence and begin building your case. The longer you wait to call your lawyer, the greater the chance that you will inadvertently do or say something that makes a criminal charge more likely.
Contact a New York DWI and License Suspension Attorney
If you have concerns about a DWI and license suspension in New York, give us a call at (914) 499-0571 or fill out our online form to get started. We want to make sure you are treated fairly and given the best possible defense.
Though New York’s drunk driving laws are strict, there are options available for those who meet the criteria we have discussed above. If a license is essential for your job or medical condition, you should contact our office to find out whether you are eligible for a hardship or conditional license.
Westchester license suspension lawyer Michael Litman knows how important it is for someone charged with a DWI to have a skilled defense attorney handling their case. 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.
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