Getting Your Driver's License Back



Under New York's Prompt Suspension Law, a motorist's driver's license must be suspended by the court if the reading is over .08. This driver's license suspension will remain in effect as long as the DWI case is pending. However, it is possible under certain circumstances to expedite the return of your driving privileges.


Driver's License Suspension Pending Prosecution

Under Section 1193(2)(e)(7) of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law an arraignment court must suspend a motorist's driver's license pending prosecution where the motorist, at the time of his arrest, is alleged to have had .08 or one percent or more by weight of alcohol in such driver's blood as shown by chemical analysis of blood, breath, urine or saliva.
This driver's license suspension will remain in effect for the duration of the case. However, after the expiration of 30 days, the motorist, if eligible, can apply for a pre-conviction conditional driver's license.
Once the case is terminated by either dismissal, or conviction, the suspension under VTL Section 1193(2)(e)(7) is also terminated. If the motorist is convicted, the court may grant a 20 day stay order, which in effect would stay any court imposed suspension or revocation of the driver's license and allow the motorist to drive for 20 days unrestricted. This will allow the motorist time to enroll in the Drinking Driving Program and obtain a conditional license.

Therefore, if your driver's license is taken at arraignment and you need to drive immediately it is imperative that your defense attorney arrange to have the case advanced and disposed of as quickly as possible.


Hardship Hearing In Nassau CountY

In hardship cases, if the motorist does not want to dispose of his case, but needs to drive, his attorney can ask the court for a Hardship Hearing in an attempt to have the court issue his client a Hardship Privilege license. In order to eligible for a Hardship Privilege license, the motorist has the burden of presenting evidence that they would suffer an extreme hardship as a result of the court's suspension of their license.

The Statute defines an Extreme Hardship 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 member of the licensee's household, or if the licensee is a matriculating student enrolled in an accredited school, college or university, and must travel to such licensee's school, college or university, and if such travel is necessary for the completion of the educational degree or certificate."


Conduct Of The Hearing In Nassau County

At the hearing, the motorist's defense attorney must present evidence establishing the Extreme Hardship, however the court cannot issued the hardship privilege based solely on the testimony of the motorist. Therefore, it is necessary to bring additional proof. Depending upon the Court, such additional proof can be a letter from an employer, a work schedule, a bus schedule, testimony of a wife, friend or co-worker. Depending upon the court, in addition to being questioned by his own attorney, the motorist is also questioned by the court or the Assistant District Attorney.

In Nassau County, the District Attorney's office opposes all applications for a Hardship Privilege and cross-examines all witnesses. In Suffolk County, the District Attorney's office takes no position and leaves the questioning up to the Court alone. If a Hardship Privilege is issued by the court the motorist will only be permitted to drive for certain periods of time and under certain conditions. If the motorist does not prevail, then the motorist's license will remain suspended. After 30 days the motorist, if eligible, will be able to apply for a pre-conviction conditional license.

Unlike a Hardship Privilege, a conditional driver's license will allow a motorist more latitude in terms of driving and will allow the motorist not only to drive to and from work, but during work if required. A Hardship Privilege will not allow a motorist to drive during work even if it is part of his employment. In addition, the holder of the condition license will be permitted to drive for up to 3 hours for recreational purposes.

Even if a Hardship Privilege is granted, it is important for the motorist to apply for the pre-conviction conditional license if his case is not disposed of within 30 days.


Given the adversarial nature of a DWI Hardship Hearing in Nassau County Criminal Court, it is important to find and hire a DWI Defense Law Firm that is familiar with the conduct of these DWI hearings in Nassau County Criminal Court.