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Drunk Driving License Penalties
Long Island / New York City DWI Attorneys
- Vehicle Forfeiture Defense
- Penalties Against Your Driving Privileges
- Vehicle Forfeiture
- Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License
- Pre-Conviction License Suspension
- Hardship Hearings
- Refusal Hearings
While criminal penalties for a drunk driving conviction in New York State are harsh, of themselves, the impact on your driving privileges and your personal assets is also swift, severe and long-lasting. If you are arrested on suspicion of a DWI (DUI) or DWAI, your driver's license will be suspended immediately pending the outcome of your case. You can also lose your vehicle for certain alcohol-related offenses.
The DWI attorneys of Grunwald & Seman, P.C. represent individuals in Nassau County, Suffolk County and New York City in drunk driving defense, including representation in various driver's license hearings before the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
A conviction for DWI (DUI), DWAI, or refusing to submit to chemical testing can result in the following consequences and costs:
Many of these penalties have as of November 1, 2006, been increased based on the new DWI laws.
- Six-month minimum suspension to permanent revocation of driving license
- Revocation of driving license (minimum one year) for refusal to take chemical BAC test
- Additional fines of $750 for each alcohol/drug conviction
- Fees and surcharges for a conditional license or new license application
- Fee for Drinking and Driving Program
If you are arrested for a drunk driving offense, you can be civilly sued for the value of your vehicle or forfeiture of the vehicle. Some jurisdictions (such as Suffolk County) will seize your vehicle if you have a prior offense, some (such as New York City) weigh factors like level of intoxication and criminal history, and some (Nassau County) may seize your car for a first offense DWI or even a DWAI. This civil action may commence even before you have been convicted.
Upon conviction, the city or county will seek to sell the vehicle at public auction. Whether you forfeit the car or pay to retain it, you are still obligated to make any payments owed to the lien/lease holder.
Many drivers are surprised to learn that they have been charged with a crime and face criminal penalties when they are stopped by the Police and receive what they think is a "ticket" for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 511 (driving after suspension/revocation of your driver's license) is a criminal misdemeanor or felony carrying serious penalties, including possible jail, fines, and even seizure of your vehicle.
The key to understanding and defending the criminal charges of VTL 511 is to determine the basis for the suspension/revocation: prior DWI conviction, multiple traffic violations, failure to pay traffic tickets, or insurance lapse. If the revocation or suspension was DWI-related, you will face more serious consequences:.
VTL 511.3 - First Degree (Class E Felony)
- Arrest for DWI or Impaired by Drugs with no license and prior DWI revocation or refusal
- Imprisonment or substantial jail time; heavy fines
VTL 511.2 - Second Degree (Misdemeanor)
- Driving without license after a prior DWI suspension/revocation or refusal
- Minimum mandatory 7 days in jail, up to 180 days; fines, probation
VTL 511.1 - Suspended or Revoked License (Misdemeanor)
- Driving after license suspension (suspension not DWI-related)
- Fines, probation
Grunwald & Seman has access to the official New York State Department of Motor Vehicle Departments Record Data Base, and will help you unravel the mystery and pitfalls of defending Driving with a Suspended/Revoked License. We undertake a comprehensive analysis of how and if you were notified, and applicable defense strategies. Even if you were notified, the prosecutor must be able to prove it with admissible, competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
In an effort to discourage defendants accused of DWI or Driving while Impaired by Drugs from stalling and prolonging the criminal cases, the New York Legislature imposed automatic License Suspension Pending Prosecution.
Even if you are not guilty and the charges are eventually dismissed, every motorist accused of DWI/DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher will automatically have their license suspended while the charges are pending. The law, VTL § 1193(e), does not apply to those charged with the lesser offense of Driving While Alcohol Impaired (DWAI), but does apply to those charged with driving while impaired by drugs.
After 30 days you may be eligible for a pre-conviction hardship conditional license (judicial temporary conditional license) which will allow you to travel to and from work, school, or medical appointments. Not every case and not every motorist will be eligible, and you may be able to avoid the license suspension entirely if you can demonstrate an undue hardship.
A defendant does not have to wait the 30 days before attempting to obtain a pre-conviction conditional license. One is afforded a chance to demonstrate a hardship exemption or exception for an immediate conditional license.
Hardship hearings are tricky for inexperienced attorneys. For a full and complete discussion of the issues involved, Attorney Karl Seman of Grunwald & Seman, PC has written and lectured about this issue. In fact, other DWI lawyers often consult with and seek the advice of our DWI/DUI attorney.
If your DWI/DUI and the charges are dismissed before trial or you are acquitted after trial, you will still lose your license for a minimum of six months if your refused the Chemical BAC Test at the time of your arrest. You lose even when you win.
Under the law in New York State, every motorist is presumed to consent to provide a sample of one's blood, saliva, breath or urine so that blood alcohol content (BAC) can be measured. This "reading" or test result is used against you in the prosecution of the DWI/DUI case. Unless a serious injury or fatality is alleged, the Police and Courts will not restrain you and forcibly remove your bodily fluids for BAC testing. So if you decline a BAC test, it is called a Refusal.
The penalty is automatic license suspension pending a DMV Chemical Refusal Hearing. The DMV, not the criminal court, will offer you a hearing to determine whether:
- Police fairly advised you of the consequences for refusal (license revocation for a minimum of 6 months)
- Police had reasonable or probable cause to suspect you were driving while drunk or impaired by drugs
It is critical to retain an experienced DWI/DUI criminal defense attorney to appear with you and defend you at the BAC Chemical Testing Hearing. If you prevail at the hearing, it is more likely that the criminal charges will be reduced or dismissed.
DO NOT HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO FIGHT YOUR DWI/DUI UNLESS THEY
FULLY UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DMV CHEMICAL TEST HEARING. Failure to hire proper legal counsel can have devastating consequences, while a qualified lawyer may help you avoid the lengthy suspension of your license and criminal penalties.
Our Long Island and New York City DWI attorneys will defend you in:
- criminal court
- license suspension and hardship hearings
- refusal hearings
- the civil suit to seize your car and sell it.
Free initial consultations: Don't Delay, Call Today: 800-399-7098., P.C. 24 hours a day, seven days away for immediate advice about your DWI/DUI defense case.