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By Michael Arbeit
Founding Attorney

Of the many consequences of getting busted for a DWI (driving while intoxicated) in New York State, losing the driving privileges that come along with your driver’s license is one of the most impactful. If you call Nassau County home, then you know that getting around without a driver’s license can be next to impossible. 

The public transportation situation in this county is dire, which is why the loss of your driver’s license can be so difficult for your lifestyle. Fortunately, New York State provides for a conditional license. This will allow you to drive under certain circumstances as long as you comply with the NYS conditional license requirements. In the following, we will explore the eligibility for the conditional license under NY DWI laws, the process for applying, and any potential restrictions you may encounter. We will also look at some essential tips for complying with the conditional license regulations so you can avoid any future complications.

Who is eligible for a conditional license?

Your NYS driver’s license is considered a privilege and not a right. Therefore, once you are charged with DWI and the police produce a certified copy of a breathalyzer test showing you had a blood alcohol level above .08, your driver’s license will be suspended pending prosecution of the offense. 

At this point, you can apply for a conditional driver’s license. These are available to drivers who have had a valid driver’s license before the time of arrest and had no prior DWI convictions during the five years before the latest arrest.

Anyone who refuses a breathalyzer or chemical alcohol test is ineligible for a conditional or hardship license. The same goes for anyone with a record of prior arrests and/or convictions for DWI. These conditional licenses are granted on a case-by-case basis, so the DMV may take other factors into consideration. Finally, conditional licenses cannot be used for commercial purposes, such as driving a taxi, rideshare vehicle, or truck.

What steps do you have to take to get a conditional license?

Your local DMV here in Nassau County is in charge of issuing conditional licenses. Thirty days after your arraignment for the DWI charges, you can apply to the DMV for a conditional license. This will require you to enroll in, attend, and successfully complete an Impaired Driver Program (IDP).

An IDP consists of seven weekly classroom sessions. These typically last two to three hours each, so you are looking at 16 total hours of classroom participation. You will be pre-screened by the operator of the IDP to identify your personal risk factors for a substance abuse disorder. If the operator feels that it is warranted, you will be referred for a comprehensive clinical assessment by the NY State OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Support) and, if necessary, treatment for substance abuse. If this is the case, this must be completed in a satisfactory manner as well to maintain your conditional license. The cost of the IDP course must be paid for by the participant as well as a $75 nonrefundable fee to the DMV.

How can a conditional license be used?

If you get a conditional license, you can drive to and from your place of employment or a state-accredited academic institute you are attending. This does not include high school, so anyone still enrolled in high school cannot drive to classes. You are also allowed to drive during working hours if you are required to do so to perform your job. In addition, you are allowed to drive to and from the IDP classes, court and probation appointments, and medical appointments. If you have minor children, the conditional license allows you to drive them to and from school or daycare. Finally, holders of conditional licenses can drive anywhere during an assigned three-hour period each week. 

What are some tips to avoid losing a conditional license?

There are a number of ways you can mess up and lose your conditional license. Getting arrested for a subsequent DWI will make you immediately ineligible. You can also lose your conditional license by failing to complete the IDP program, as well as not following up with an OASAS assessment or treatment. 

Conditional licenses will also be revoked for any drug or alcohol violations. Finally, many drivers lose their conditional license by driving to places that are not specifically permitted under the terms and conditions. So, if you are granted a conditional license, it is crucial that you only drive where you are allowed, complete all of the IDP program, and remain clean and sober. 

Call us if you get charged with a DWI

Losing your driver’s license is just one of the many consequences of getting arrested for a DWI. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, call our firm today. At Michael A. Arbeit, our experienced attorneys will defend you against the charges and assist you with all of the consequences you face.

About the Author
Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. is devoted to all Criminal Defense and  Traffic related matters.  Michael practices primarily in the Criminal and County (Supreme) Courts in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Kings County, New York County and the Bronx County.  Michael is also licensed to practice law in the Federal Courts of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
Posted in DWI