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Guide to New York DWI License Suspensions

Driver’s license suspensions are one of several DWI penalties that can be imposed under New York law. In fact, depending on the circumstances, a driver’s license suspension can last months to well over a year. For those who are trying to put a past DWI case behind them and move on with their lives, a driver’s license suspension can be challenging. However, there may be various ways to mitigate the impact of this penalty, with options for conditional licenses and early license reinstatement for those who take the proper steps.

Understanding how DWI license suspensions work and when they come into play is crucial for all drivers, especially those accused or convicted of drunk driving in New York.

DWAI License Suspensions in New York

A conviction for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) can result in the license suspensions shown in the table below.

DWAI Offense Charge Administrative Penalties
1st DWAI Traffic infraction 90-day license suspension
1st DWAI-A/D

(DWAI with drugs)

Misdemeanor 6-month license suspension
2nd DWAI

(within 5 years)

Misdemeanor 6-month license suspension
3rd DWAI

(within 10 years)

Misdemeanor 6-month license suspension

How DWI License Suspensions Work in New York

When a DWI case ends in a guilty plea, a plea deal, or a jury conviction, the license suspension that comes into play will also depend on how many prior DWIs an individual has. The following table shows the various license suspensions for DWIs in New York.

New York Drunk Driving Charge Minimum Driver’s License Suspension
Out-of-State DUI 90 days
1st DWI 6-month suspension
1st Aggravated DWI

(BAC of 0.18% or more)

6-month suspension
2nd DWI 1-year revocation
2nd Aggravated DWI 18 months revocation
3rd DWI 1-year revocation
3rd Aggravated DWI 7-year revocation

Driver’s License Suspensions for Underage DWIs in New York

When drivers who are younger than 21 are convicted of a DWI, they can face the license suspensions shown in the table below, based on the number of priors and the circumstances involved.

Underage DWI Charge Minimum Driver’s License Suspension
1st DWI 6-month suspension
2nd DWI 1-year revocation or until the driver is 21 years old
Out-of-State

Underage DWI

1-year revocation

New York Implied Consent Law: License Suspensions for Chemical Test Refusals

Regardless of whether motorists are accused of DWAI or DWI, their licenses can be suspended if they refuse chemical testing during the traffic stop. This is due to New York’s Implied Consent law. It essentially states that drivers, by operating vehicles on New York’s roads, have already agreed to consent to chemical testing if a law enforcement officer requests it during a traffic stop.

As a result, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test will violate the Implied Consent law and result in penalties—no matter what happens with the DWAI or DWI case. Effectively, that means that a driver who refuses chemical testing can have his or her license suspended even if drunk driving charges are dismissed or a case ends in an acquittal.

Driver’s license suspensions for chemical test refusals in New York are shown in the table below.

Chemical Test Refusal Length of Driver’s License Suspension
1st Refusal or

Refusal from an underage driver

1 year
2nd Refusal 18 months
3rd or Subsequent Refusal
(“Habitual Offenders”)
Indefinite revocation, with the ability to apply for reinstatement after 5 years

Here, it’s crucial to point out that:

  • A DMV hearing determines whether these suspensions take effect: This hearing generally happens within 15 days of the arrest. This administrative proceeding is when the accused has the opportunity to try to defend their rights to retain their driver’s license. If the accused does not show up, their license can be automatically suspended or revoked.
  • License suspensions for DWIs or DWAIs can be added to those for chemical test refusals: In other words, a driver who refuses a breathalyzer or blood test and who is convicted of a first-time DWI can have an 18-month driver’s license suspension, with 1 year for the refusal and 6 months for the DWI.

Conditional Licenses

Once driver’s license suspensions for DWAIs and DWIs in New York have been issued, motorists will have to wait the full term of the suspension before they can apply to get their license fully reinstated. Before that happens, however, it may be possible to obtain a condition license.

Conditional licenses for those with DWAIs or DWIs allow motorists to drive to and from “essential” locations, like work, doctors, and school. Those who qualify for conditional licenses will usually receive a notification from the New York DMV, explaining how to apply.

There are very strict terms and limitations associated with conditional licenses. Drivers who violate these terms or who are convicted of any traffic infraction that involves a moving violation will immediately have their conditional licenses revoked.

Driving on a Revoked License in New York

Before or after a DWI case goes to court, driver’s license suspensions can be in effect. Sometimes, people may not realize a suspension is active. Other times, they know it is, but they get behind the wheel anyway. No matter why motorists may drive on revoked licenses, it can result in more criminal charges and penalties.

In fact, driving on a revoked license in New York can result in files of $200 to $1000 and potentially jail time. If motorists are impaired while driving on a revoked license, their vehicles can be seized, they can face new DWI charges, and they can be fined up to $5,000.

How Do I Get My Driver’s License Reinstated After a DWI Suspension in New York?

Drivers who complete the following can be eligible for driver’s license reinstatement after a DWI in New York:

  • A court-ordered alcohol education program, known as the Impaired Driver Program (IDP): Intended to mitigate the impact of alcohol- and drug-related crashes, the IDP includes classroom sessions, screenings, and assessments. Failing to comply with the terms of the IDP can result in drivers being kicked out of the program and losing their conditional licenses.
  • Other evaluations or required treatments: These are case-specific and may include drug screenings, probation meetings, and more.

To get a license reinstated, a driver will need to show proof of completing the court-ordered penalties to the DMV and pay the necessary fees. This can include license reinstatement fees, civil penalties, driver responsibility assessment fees, and other fees.

Here, it’s essential to understand that:

  • Driver’s license reinstatement is not automatic: Drivers may need to obtain special approvals from the Driver Improvement Unit (DIU) at the DMV. Additionally, failing to present the necessary documents, like proof of completing the IDP and other court-ordered evaluations, can cause delays in getting driver’s licenses reinstated.
  • Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) may be required: In some cases, license reinstatement may be contingent upon drivers having IIDs installed and maintained in their vehicles. With an IID, motorists will have to cover all costs, and any breath samples with alcohol detected will be recorded and reported.

Charged with a DWAI or DWAI in Westchester County? Contact Mamaroneck DWI Lawyer Michael J. Borrelli

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWAI or DWI, your attorney can be the key to the strength and success of your defense case. When you want an experienced advocate and superior defense representation, you want Mamaroneck DWI Lawyer Michael J. Borrelli.

The truth is that a driver’s license suspension can be just one of several consequences of DWIs and DWAIs in New York. Although that can be overwhelming to consider, it’s crucial for the accused to remember that:

  • Charges don’t have to end in a conviction: There may be a number of ways to challenge drunk driving allegations and poke holes in prosecutors’ cases. From procedural errors to issues with chemical testing and violations of the accused person’s rights, there may be various ways to fight DWI charges.
  • Their lawyer can make all the difference in their defense: An experienced attorney will know how to present DWI cases in the best possible light, even when the circumstances may be especially complex or challenging. Depending on the circumstances, that can mean preparing the accused to testify, retaining expert witnesses, negotiating with prosecutors out of court, and/or taking other actions to bring cases to favorable resolutions.

Call (914) 825-8620 or contact us online for a FREE, confidential DWI consultation 24/7.

Whether you are facing first-time DWI charges or you have a record of prior convictions, the sooner you have Attorney Borrelli in your corner, the better. For more than 25 years, DWI Attorney Borrelli has been helping people just like you protect their rights and what matters most. From dealing with police to reinvestigating your case and representing you in court hearings, Attorney Borrelli has the experience and resources to fiercely fight for you while striving for the best possible resolutions.

The first step in building a stronger DWI defense is just a call or click away.


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