Getting Your Driver’s License Back After a DUI License Suspension
A driver’s license suspension is often part and parcel of a New York DWI or DUI arrest. For some people, losing their license is the worst part of the DUI experience and can lead to the loss of a job and other hardships. Read on to learn the facts behind driver’s license suspensions and revocations in New York, and call 888-DUI-LAWYER after a Long Island DUI arrest for help keeping your license and driving privileges intact.
Facts About New York Driver’s License Suspensions and Revocations
There are two ways that your license can be suspended or revoked after a drunk driving arrest. One way is through an administrative process at the DMV for failing a breathalyzer or refusing to take the test when required. The other way is through the judicial process and is part of sentencing after a guilty plea or trial which ends in a guilty verdict. Some suspensions are discretionary and some are mandatory, so it is important to have our knowledgeable, experienced Long Island DUI attorneys on your side who can explain the facts to you and make sure you you’re your license whenever possible.
The main difference between a license suspension and a revocation is that a suspended license is automatically restored at the end of the suspension period. If the license is revoked, however, it is not automatically reinstated. Instead you have to reapply for a new license, including taking applicable tests and paying applicable fees. Also, the DMV will review your records and decide whether you are even eligible to apply for a new license.
Generally speaking, if you blow .08% or more on a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for 90 days on a first offense, or six months if you have a prior DUI or committed a vehicular assault. If you refused the breathalyzer, your license is suspended for one year.
After conviction of DWI, your license will revoked for six months on a first offense, or one year if it is your second DWI in the past ten years. A second DWAI in five years or a third DWAI in ten years will also result in a six month revocation upon conviction. Regardless, a revocation can be ended early by completing the Impaired Driving Program, unless you have a previous conviction in the past 25 years or are subject to a lifetime revocation.
Prompt Suspension & Pringle Hearings
At the start of your DUI case, if the judge finds that the paperwork conforms with criminal procedure law and there is reasonable cause to believe your BAC was .08% or more, your license is typically promptly suspended by the judge at that time, regardless of whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the suspension is normally stayed for 20 days, which gives you time to enter the Impaired Driving Program and get a conditional license, so you may not actually lose your driving privileges for any appreciable length of time.
If you plead not guilty, your license is suspended for 90 days. However, you do have a right to request a hearing on this suspension and to be represented by your lawyer at the hearing. This hearing is known as a Pringle hearing, and your lawyer may attack the suspension based on lack of cause, police errors during the stop, or other grounds. If you lose the Pringle hearing, you can still apply for a hardship license, which is granted in limited circumstances. Pringle hearings and hardship licenses are both generally difficult to win.
You can also apply for a conditional license 30 days after your arraignment or Pringle hearing. This license is known as a Pre-Conviction Conditional License or PCCL, pronounced “pickle.”
As you can see from the above, the easiest way to keep your license is to plead guilty to the charges, and the system is set up this way to encourage you to plead guilty. However, unless you absolutely cannot go one day (or 30) without your driver’s license, it may be better overall for you to fight the charges and apply for a conditional license while your case is pending. Our New York DUI defense lawyers can advise you of your options in a free, initial consultation.
DMV Refusal Hearings
If you refused to take a chemical test when required, then the DMV will revoke your license for at least a year. However, you have a right to a DMV refusal hearing before this action is taken. This hearing is conducted before an administrative law judge, and the standard of proof needed to revoke your license is less than what is required to convict you in court of DWI. The main issue to be proven at trial is whether you knowingly refused to take a chemical test, which seems fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, your attorney may be able to raise several defenses on your behalf. For instance, did the arresting officer author a Report of Refusal as required? Was the initial stop valid? Were you given clear and unequivocal warnings about the consequences for refusing a test? Did you refuse to submit a sample of blood, breath or urine, or did you only refuse the breath test? A skilled and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney will serve as a strong advocate for you in a DMV refusal hearing. You basically have nothing to lose and everything to gain from fighting a suspension at a refusal hearing.
Call 888-DUI-LAWYER After a Long Island DUI License Suspension
The prompt suspension of your license can occur as early as your arraignment, which follows closely on the heels of arrest. You will want to contact an attorney right away to get advice and representation at arraignment, save your license, and get the best possible outcome on your case. After a DUI arrest in Long Island, call 888-DUI-LAWYER for a free consultation.