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NY DWI and your driving privileges while the court case is ongoing

At Palumbo & Associates, PC we are experts at knowing and understanding what is going to happen to your driver’s license at every step your New York DWI / DUI prosecution. We know that you do not want to lose your driver’s license and our NY DWI lawyers know the best way to avoid a license suspension and, if it happens, shorten the period of time and how to get you conditional driving privileges if you end up with a NY DUI license suspension. If you have been accused of DWI, call us to speak to an experienced DUI license suspension defense attorney.

The basic framework for NY DUI license suspensions

There are 2 distinct paths to having your license and or driving privileges suspended if you hold a driver’s license outside of New York after you have been arrested for a DWI in NY. If you submitted to a chemical test (breathalyzer) then one set of rights and obligations is triggered; if you refused to submit to a breathalyzer then another set of rights and obligations is triggered. Whatever will happen to you occurs at the arraignment, which is the first court appearance after the arrest.

If you submitted to the breathalyzer and the results indicated a .08 BAC or greater, then your license or driving privileges if you have an out of state license will be suspended immediately under the “prompt suspension law.” If your BAC is .07 or less, your license or privileges will not be suspended and you will retain full driving privileges. However, for the results to be valid in court to promptly suspend a license, the BAC report must be:

  • Original
  • Certified
  • Attested to by a certified breath test operator, and
  • The self calibration of the machine must indicate proper calibration on the report
  • Moreover, even if all of those items are in order, before a court can suspend an operator’s license or privileges a defendant is entitled to demand a “Pringle Hearing.” This is so named because the right to the hearing was borne out of the NY State Court of Appeals case of Pringle v. Wolfe, 88 N.Y.2d 426, 668 N.E.2d 1376, 646 N.Y.S.2d 82 (1996). In the decision, the court held that before a license or privileges could be promptly suspended, a DUI defendant has a due process right to refute the findings and accuracy of the breathalyzer result at a hearing by calling his own witnesses and marshalling his own evidence.

Upon a prompt suspension the defendant’s license or driving privileges will be suspended for 30 days. On or after the 30th day the defendant can obtain conditional driving privileges from the NYS DMV. Further, at the arraignment you are entitled to a hardship hearing to present evidence of extreme hardship for that 30 day period to obtain minimal driving privileges.

If you did not submit to the breathalyzer the license and / or privileges will be immediately suspended at arraignment for a period of not more than 15 days. The court will schedule for the defendant a chemical test refusal hearing within that 15 day period, which occurs not before the court but before the NYS DMV safety hearing bureau.

The hearing and proceeding is strictly administrative. In other words, it is separate and apart from the court proceeding. From that point on, one thing has nothing to do with another. In other words, a DUI defendant can be found guilty in court of DWI but not guilty before the NYS DMV of refusing a chemical test, or conversely guilty of chemical test refusal but not guilty of DWI.

If the arresting officer does not appear at the first DMV refusal hearing the hearing is adjourned one time for the cop to appear. During that time frame your full driving privileges are restored. At the next date whether or not the cop shows up the hearing goes forward. However, if you as the respondent fail to appear at any time that is considered by the DMV as an admission of refusal and you will be found guilty of refusing.

The DMV can prosecute just on the report of refusal and you could be found to have refused without a police officer to testify. If you are found to have refused to submit to a chemical test within the meaning of the law your license is revoked for a period of 1 year and you will be fined $750.00 by the DMV. If however you are found to have not refused then you maintain your full driving privileges (separate and apart from any suspension or revocation you are subject to for being found guilty of either DWI or DWAI).

If you have been arrested in NY for DWI and have an arraignment coming up, call our office today toll free at 1-877-996-6849 for a no cost, no obligation phone consultation.