New York drunk driving conviction can put your driver's license at risk
The loss of a driver's license can be devastating, particularly for those who need to travel on a daily basis. Regardless of whether an individual needs to drive for work or simply to run personal errands, these tasks become all the more difficult ― if not impossible ― without a driver's license.
Consequently, it is important for New Yorkers to take criminal charges seriously, as a person's license may be put in jeopardy following a conviction for several types of crimes, including driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Indeed, depending upon how many prior alcohol-related criminal convictions an individual has, he or she may not even be able to get another license from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Loss of license for first-time offenders in New York
While it is certainly true the repeat offenders will lose their licenses for longer periods, it is crucial to remember that even first-time offenders of alcohol-related driving crimes in New York risk license suspension or revocation. In fact, under New York law, these suspension/revocation periods include:
- DWAI: A person convicted for the first time of driving while his or her ability is impaired by alcohol will have his or her license suspended for 90 days
- DWI: A person convicted for the first time of driving while intoxicated, which typically means he or she had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, will have his or her license revoked for six months
- Aggravated DWI: A person convicted for the first time of aggravated driving while intoxicated, which means he or she had a BAC of 0.18 percent or more, will have his or her license revoked for one year
- Underage Drinking & Driving: A person under the age of 21 who operates a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, meaning he or she had a BAC of at least 0.02 percent but not more than 0.07 percent, will have his or her license suspended for six months for a first offense, which increases to a one-year revocation if convicted of driving while intoxicated
- Chemical Test Refusal: A person who refuses chemical testing, such as a breathalyzer test, will have his or her license revoked for one year for a first offense
It is also important to note the distinction between a license suspension and revocation in New York. For instance, while a suspension typically results in a person's license being taken away for a period of time before it is returned, a revocation means an individual's license has been technically voided and no longer exists.
Accordingly, following a license revocation, a person must re-apply to the DMV once his or her revocation period is over in order to get a new license. Not only must an individual have to pay a re-application fee during this process but he or she may even have the application denied should the DMV determine he or she does not meet state requirements of has a significantly poor driving record.
Permanent denial of New York license following multiple DWIs
As referenced above, if an individual has more than one alcohol-related driving conviction, his or her license suspension/revocation will likely be longer. In fact, not only does one lose his or her license for a greater period of time, but if he or she has several DWIs, the DMV may not allow him or her to obtain a license ever again.
For instance, according to New York DMV regulations, if an individual has five or more alcohol-related driving convictions in his or her entire lifetime ― including DWIs ― and re-applies for a driver's license, he or she will be permanently denied licensure by the DMV as a "persistently dangerous driver." Similarly, if a driver has three or four DWI convictions, and one or more serious driving offenses, within 25 years, the DMV will also permanently deny an application for relicensing following a revocation. In fact, the only exception to a permanent denial in these two situations is if the individual can establish "unusual, extenuating and compelling circumstances."
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that multiple DWIs will not always result in a permanent denial of licensure by the New York DMV. Indeed, there are often varying degrees as to how long the DMV will deny an individual a license depending on the person's prior alcohol-related driving offenses as well as the number of years between convictions.
For example, an individual whose license is currently revoked due to an alcohol-related driving offense, and who has three or four alcohol-related driving convictions within a 25-year period, will not only have to wait until his or her current revocation period is over to re-apply for a license but an additional five years on top of that. Before this waiting period has passed, the DMV is required by regulation to deny the person's license application.
In addition, even after this waiting period is over and an individual's license application has been approved, he or she will only be issued a restricted license for another five years and must use an ignition interlock device on his or her cars during that time.
New York's many licensing and DWI laws
Importantly, the regulations and laws mentioned herein are merely a sampling of the guidelines used by New York courts and the DMV when determining whether or not to revoke a license or deny an application for a new license. In fact, many other statutes and code provisions may come into play when dealing with DWIs and license revocations in New York. For instance, those with commercial drivers' licenses in New York not only face lower BAC thresholds than others on the road but longer license revocation periods as well if ultimately convicted of a DWI.
Accordingly, it is often best to consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney if you have questions about New York's complex DWI and license-revocation laws. A skilled attorney can help explain these complicated laws and guide you through any relevant criminal proceedings and/or DMV hearings.