Drunk driving is considered a serious problem by New York prosecutors and lawmakers. If you are being charged with DWI, you likely will face a driver’s license suspension. Not having the ability to drive can make it challenging for a driver to get to their job or to school or to doctor’s appointments. It may be possible to obtain a hardship license to relieve some of these burdens. White Plains DWI lawyer Mark A. Siesel can assist you with this process.DWI Charges and Penalties
Driving while intoxicated is taken seriously in New York. If your blood alcohol content was .08% or higher while operating a car, you may be charged with DWI. You can also be charged with driving while your ability is impaired, which is a lesser grade offense, or an offense involving driving while impaired by drugs.
There are harsh penalties for people convicted of DWI. One penalty that is imposed in connection with a sentence, but can also be imposed once you are charged, is a driver’s license suspension. For a first offense conviction, your driver’s license can be suspended for six months.Hardship Licenses
Your license is automatically suspended pending prosecution at your first court appearance if you are charged with a New York drunk driving offense. If your BAC was found to be greater than .08% when you were arrested, your license will be suspended upon arraignment. However, this prompt suspension is not imposed if you are charged with DWAI because your BAC was less than .08%, if the DWI charge was based on ingesting drugs, or if you refused to take a chemical test.
However, a driver’s license is considered a privilege, so it can be suspended even if you have not been found guilty. Often, from the time that a driver is arraigned until their case is concluded, they will not have the privilege of a driver’s license. However, there is an exception; you can apply for a hardship license.
There are many factors that go into determining whether someone is eligible for a hardship license. You cannot get a hardship license if you refused to take a Breathalyzer or other chemical test. You also cannot obtain a hardship license if you have been convicted of drunk driving or pled guilty to drunk driving within the last five years. You can only get a hardship license to be able to drive to and from home, to and from work, and to and from medical care.
You need to go through certain steps to get a hardship license. Among other things, you will need to testify at the hardship hearing, for which an attorney can prepare you. A judge conducts this hearing within three days of an arraignment and sometimes conducts it as early as the arraignment itself. Family members, friends, or witnesses must confirm your testimony so that you can prove that without a driver’s license and while your case is pending, you would face an extreme hardship.
In other words, it is not enough to claim that it would be difficult not to have a driver’s license. You need to show that it would be tremendously difficult not to have a driver’s license. You will need to show that you have no other way to get to work or school besides driving yourself. This means supplying proof that you cannot use a bus or a taxi or an Uber or a Lyft, or that you cannot pay for the costs of transportation based on your earnings or salary. You may need to bring your W-2 as evidence of your financial inability. You will likely also need to supply testimony from another witness that you do not have friends, family, or coworkers who could drive you to your job as you wait for your case to progress through the criminal justice system.
The purpose of a hardship license is to get to and from work during whichever hours and days are set by the court. You cannot use the license to drive to have fun on the weekend or for a job that requires you to drive.Consult a White Plains Attorney to Explore Your Options
If you need to get a hardship license in White Plains, you should consult an experienced DWI lawyer. Mark Siesel also represents clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as Westchester, Kings, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Call us at (914) 428-7386 or complete our online form.
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