Welcome to our frequently asked questions page.  Below you will find a list of common terms you might hear throughout the course of your case.   For any topic you wish to learn more about, please click on the blue + button in the upper right-hand corner of that section to reveal  comprehensive information on that subject

20 day Stay

If you are convicted of an alcohol-related offense or driving while ability impaired by drugs in New York State, you will face different license suspension or revocations periods dependent on what you are convicted of. If you submitted to a chemical test (breath or blood) and are eligible for a Conditional License and to take the Impaired Driver Program, most judges will grant a 20-day stay on your suspension or revocation. What this means is that the suspension or revocation will not take effect until 20 days from your date of sentencing. This 20 day allows the court to ensure they are able to file all of your conviction paperwork with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and allows you time to go to the DMV to sign up for the Impaired Driver Program and Conditional License.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated requires that the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content) allegedly be .18% or higher. If this is the driver’s first offense, the charge is an unclassified misdemeanor and carries with it up to one year in jail, three years’ probation, a one-year license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of the Impaired Driver Program, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $2,900. If this is the driver’s second violation within ten years of an alcohol-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class E Felony. The penalties increase to up to four years in prison, five years’ probation, 18-month license revocation, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of the Impaired Driver Program (if eligible), and a maximum fine and surcharge of $5,520. If this is the driver’s third violation within ten years of an alcohol-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class D Felony. Penalties increase to up to seven years in prison, five years’ probation, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $10,520. At this point, you will potentially be facing driving penalties for multiple offenders that would be imposed directly by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Automobile Insurance

Please be advised that an alcohol-related conviction is just causing your car insurance company to either raise your premium or cancel your policy altogether. If your policy is canceled you would either have to shop around for new insurance or you would be relegated to the New York State High-Risk Auto Insurance Pool—both options result in higher premiums. An alcohol-related conviction will be used to determine premiums for approximately 5-10 years.

Community Service

Some counties have community service coordinators and there are some judges that require you to arrange your service hours through them. If this is the case, the court will provide the information for who you have to call. In the alternative, you may also be sentenced to set up community service at any not-for-profit organization on your own. If this is the case, you are responsible for keeping track of your hours and activities and then returning correspondence to the court on the not-for-profit letterhead with the supervisor’s signature. There are many not-for-profit agencies you can perform community service at including, but not limited to, animal shelters, Boys and Girls Club, Good Will, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, Rescue Mission and the United Way, just to name a few.

Driver Responsibility Assessment

Within a couple of weeks of your sentencing date, you will receive notification in the mail that you are responsible for paying to the Department of Motor Vehicles what are essentially taxes for violating New York’s DWI laws. These taxes are called Driver Responsibility Assessments (DRA) and total $750. You can choose to pay all at once or you can draw out the payments for three years – one payment of $250 per year. The DMV notifies you by mail of these payments. Therefore, it is necessary that you keep your address up to date with the DMV. Failure to pay each of the DRAs within the time and in the manner that the DMV requires will result in a suspension being entered on to your driver’s license record for each of the assessments you miss. In order to have those suspensions removed, you will be required to pay the missed assessments and an additional $50 suspension termination fee for each suspension missed. For additional information regarding the Driver Responsibility Assessment, please visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle’s website at https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/how-pay-driver-responsibility-assessment

DRC Weekends/DWI Weekends

In Monroe County, sentencing for an alcohol-related conviction often includes the DWI Weekend Program, which is also known as Day Reporting Center or DRC Weekends. This program is considered an education opportunity for DWI Offenders. The current cost of the program is $80 per weekend and must be paid at the start of each weekend. Attendance is required Friday night from 6:00PM to 8:00PM and Saturday and

Sunday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. You will be screened for alcohol on arrival and will also have to provide a urine sample once during the weekend to test for amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, and morphine. If appropriate, you will be referred to a treatment program, if appropriate. You must pre-register by calling 585-454-7350.

DWAI-Alcohol

Driving While Ability Impaired by AlcoholDriving While Ability Impaired requires that the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content) allegedly be between .05%-.07%. Driving While Ability Impaired is the equivalent of a traffic infraction. For a first-time offense, penalties include up to fifteen (15) days in jail, a 90-day license suspension, completion of the Impaired Driver Program and a maximum fine and surcharge of $760.

DWAI-Drugs

Driving While Ability Impaired by DrugsDriving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, for a first offense, is an unclassified misdemeanor. If you are suspected of driving while being under the influence of drugs, an officer who is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will be called to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and you will be asked to submit a blood sample. If you are found guilty, penalties include up to 364 days in jail, three years’ probation, 6 months revocation of your driver’s license, completion of the Impaired Driver Program, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $1,400.

If this is the driver’s second violation within ten years of an alcohol/drug-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class E Felony. The penalties increase to up to four years in prison, five years’ probation, 18-month license revocation, completion of the Impaired Driver Program (if eligible), and a maximum fine and surcharge of $5,520.

If this is the driver’s third violation within ten years of an alcohol/drug-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class D Felony. Penalties increase to up to seven years in prison, five years’ probation, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $10,520. At this point, you will potentially be facing driving penalties for multiple offenders that would be imposed directly by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driving While Intoxicated

In New York State, there are two separate Driving While Intoxicated Charges, which carry the same penalties. The first is Driving with .08 of One Percent or More of Alcohol and, as suggested, requires that the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content) allegedly be .08% or higher. The second is Driving While Intoxicated, which falls under Common Law, and does not require a BAC. If you refuse a breath test but fail the standardized field sobriety tests and the officer suspects you have been driving while intoxicated, you will be charged under Common Law. Additionally, the latter charge often is issued in conjunction with the first.

If this is the driver’s first offense, this is an unclassified misdemeanor and penalties include up to 364 days in jail, three years’ probation, 6-month revocation of your driver’s license, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of the Impaired Driver Program and a maximum fine and surcharge of $1,400.

If this is the driver’s second violation within ten years of an alcohol/drug-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class E Felony. The penalties increase to up to four years in prison, five years’ probation, 18-month license revocation, completion of the Impaired Driver Program (if eligible), installation of an ignition interlock device, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $5,520.

If this is the driver’s third violation within ten years of an alcohol/drug-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class D Felony. Penalties increase to up to seven years in prison, five years’ probation, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $10,520. At this point, you will potentially be facing driving penalties for multiple offenders that would be imposed directly by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Effects of a Felony Criminal Conviction

As a result of a felony conviction, you have lost certain rights that are normally guaranteed to American citizens. The effects on your rights as a result of this conviction are as follows: you will be unable to vote in any state or federal election until you have served your jail sentence and term of probation, after which your voting rights will be automatically reinstated; you will be unable to join the armed forces; you will be unable to serve on either a state or federal jury; you will not be able to own a firearm, or obtain a firearm license such as a conceal and carry, or a pistol permit; lastly aside for the ramifications on your New York driver’s license (which are explained in detail below), any other type of state license you apply for may be denied when there is a direct relationship between the type of felony conviction (in your case DWI) and the type of license sought, so, for example, you will not be able to get a New York State Liquor License. Please be further advised that if you are charged with another offense under VTL § 1192 in the next 10 years, you will be subject to enhanced charges and penalties.

This seems like a rather long list of things you can no longer do, or be eligible for. However, there is a mechanism in New York which, if granted, will give you back a number of the rights listed above. This mechanism is called a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. The Certificate will allow you to be eligible once again for licenses and employment positions that you could not have received or been considered for because of your conviction; it will also allow you to own a firearm again.

The Certificate is granted by the court which sentenced you. In order to have the best possible chance of the Judge granting your request for a Certificate, you must first successfully complete your jail sentence and/or term of probation. One last note on the Certificate, should it be granted for you, it will not have any effect on the restrictions and revocation of your driving privileges. At the time you finish your jail sentence and term of probation, should you wish to file for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Criminal Conviction

Effects of a Misdemeanor Criminal ConvictionIn New York, a misdemeanor is considered a crime. Therefore any criminal history background check will reflect this conviction. This may affect your ability to find new employment and if you are ever asked on an application whether or not you have a criminal history the honest answer is “yes”. There may be other consequences of a criminal conviction on your life moving forward, but it is impossible to say for sure what these would be at this time. Fortunately, recent New York legislation allows someone to be eligible with one felony and one misdemeanor or two misdemeanors to have their convictions sealed after ten

years. Please contact our law firm ten years post-conviction to help you with the process to get your conviction sealed.

Ignition Interlock Device

Every DWI conviction in New York State requires the installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that is titled or registered in the defendant’s name for the full period of their conditional discharge or probation. Generally, you are required to install the Ignition Interlock Device within 10 days of sentencing.

Installation of an ignition interlock device requires that you blow into the device before your car will start. Any detection of alcohol will be recorded. Avoid consuming any alcohol, including mouthwash, before attempting to blow into this device. It is also important to note that any attempt to circumvent the device is a crime for both you and the person who attempted to blow into the device.

New York law also requires that anyone mandated to install an ignition interlock device be financially responsible for its installation and maintenance. The approximate cost of the device is $150 to install and $100 per month thereafter. If a driver cannot afford this cost, we can work with the Court pre-sentencing to ask for either a reduction or waiver of the fees. It will be the Court’s decision whether any reduction or waiver is granted.

A recent change in the legislation mandating the ignition interlock device allows for us to petition the court for early removal of the device after six (6) months of the physical installation. This only applies if there is a misdemeanor conditional discharge sentence and if the negotiated offer has not prevented the defendant from using this provision. Additionally, certain courts will not grant the petition for early removal.

At the end of your time with an ignition interlock device, you will not be allowed to remove the device until you have received permission to do so until the sentencing court or your device monitor or probation officer has issued you a letter or certificate stating you completed the requirement. Once you have received this notice of completion, it should be sent to your device manufacturer so the device can be removed and the original letter needs to be taken to the DMV so that the ignition interlock restriction can be lifted from your driver’s record.

Impaired Driver Program/Conditional License

Impaired Driver Program and Conditional LicenseThe Impaired Driver Program (IDP) is ordered at sentencing and is a seven-week course that meets once per week for approximately two to three hours per session. It costs approximately $225. You may be referred for an alcohol and/or substance abuse evaluation through IDP but as long as you provide proof that you completed an evaluation and any recommended treatment program, you should have already satisfied this requirement.

While you are in the IDP and during your license suspension, you should be eligible to hold a post-conviction conditional license. This license costs $75 plus tax. If this is your first alcohol-related conviction, it is possible that you can have the suspension end at the time you complete the IDP. Ask the IDP instructor about this possibility when you are done with the program.

For additional information in regard to the IDP and conditional license, you can visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website at https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/impaired-driver-program-alcohol-drug-rehabilitation-program

Intermittent Jail Sentence – Weekends in Jail

An intermittent jail sentence allows an individual to serve their jail sentence in “periods” of time instead of all at once. These periods continue until the sentence is served. Intermittent jail sentences are often referred to as weekends in jail as many of these terms are served Friday night to Sunday night. If you receive this jail sentence, you must show up to the jail half an hour before starting on each start date for proper processing.

To get an intermittent sentence, an individual will usually have to demonstrate that they are employed or have other significant responsibilities that make serving a regular jail sentence very hard.

International Travel

An alcohol-related driving conviction may result in difficulty for international travel. Specifically, travel to Canada would likely be restricted due to their laws. We recommend you seek advice from either an immigration attorney or the US Embassy in the country you wish to travel to should you have international travel planned in the next 5-10 years.

Leandra’s Law

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with a Child 15 Years of Age of Less as a Passenger only requires BAC of .08%. This is automatically a Class E felony charge, even if it is the driver’s first offense. Penalties include up to four years’ in prison, five years’ probation, one year revocation of your driver’s license, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of the Impaired Driver Program and a maximum fine and surcharge of $5,520. If this is the driver’s third violation within ten years of an alcohol-related misdemeanor or felony offense, the charge rises to a Class D Felony. Penalties increase to up to seven years in prison, five years’ probation, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a maximum fine and surcharge of $10,520. At this point, you will potentially be facing driving penalties for multiple offenders that would be imposed directly by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Suspension vs. Revocation

License Suspension vs. License RevocationA suspension is when your driving privilege is taken away from you for a certain period of time. In the case of a Driving While Ability Impaired, first offense, your license will be suspended for 90 days. You cannot drive until your suspension ends and you pay the termination fee unless you have been granted a conditional license. At the end of your suspension, you must pay a suspension termination fee of $50 to restore your driver’s license.

A revocation means that your license has been canceled and you must get a new one when your revocation period ends. You will be sentenced to revocation on any alcohol-related offense that is a misdemeanor or felony; however, the time of that revocation is dependent on a number of factors including the charge you were convicted of and if you had any priors. When the revocation period is over, you must request approval from the DMV for a new license as it will not automatically be reinstated. Please visit https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/how-request-restoration-after-driver-license-revocation for specific steps to take when applying for approval for a new license. The fee to terminate the revocation reapply for a license is $100.

Please keep in mind that it is a crime punishable by jail time each time that you operate a motor vehicle in New York State while the suspension or revocation is still on your record.

OASAS Assessment

OASAS Certified Drug and Alcohol AssessmentNew York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is a government agency that certifies treatment facilities and counselors to perform drug and alcohol evaluations. In some counties you will be required to have this done and complete any recommended treatment during the pendency of you case; however, in other counties, this may be a part of your sentencing. Your attorney can provide the names of providers they frequently work with or you can visit https://webapps.oasas.ny.gov/providerDirectory/index.cfm to find a provider in your area.

Penalties for Multiple Offenders

In 2012, New York State Instituted new regulations that affect drivers with multiple alcohol/drug-related driving convictions. These regulations affect drivers who have had three or four alcohol/drug-related driving convictions in 25 years or five convictions in their lifetime. For a complete list of penalties, please visit https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/penalties-multiple-offenders .

Points on Your License

Many traffic infraction convictions result in points on your license. We recommend taking the Defensive Driving Class which “removes” four (4) points every 18 months from your license that count towards a license revocation. You can take it online and the link is provided below. This will help you if you are charged in the future with any moving violations.

http://www.newyorksafetycouncil.com/

Probation

Probation supervision involves regular contact with a probation officer, drug/alcohol testing, compliance with all laws, home visits and searches, time on an ignition interlock device, no ownership of guns or dangerous weapons, and no leaving the county where you reside without permission from probation. In court, you will have signed the terms and conditions of probation and you should keep a copy of these conditions with you. Please be sure to comply with these rules. If you fail to abide by any of the rules, you can be brought back to Court and re-sentenced up to time in jail. If you are on your best behavior throughout your sentence, your probation officer could petition the Court to release you from your sentence early.

Probation also controls how and when you get your license back. They will also control the installation and monitoring of the ignition interlock device in any vehicle you either own or operate.

Refusal and DMV

Refusal to Take a Breath Test and the DMV Refusal HearingIf you refuse to take the Breathalyzer/Datamaster test at the police station, you will almost immediately be taken in front of a judge to be arraigned on the charges and have your license taken away. You will not be eligible for any driving privileges during this time. The judge will also schedule a refusal hearing that will take place at your regional Department of Motor Vehicles in front of an Administrative Law Judge.

At the DMV Refusal Hearing, the arresting officer testifies and must demonstrate that they had reasonable grounds to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle in violation of the DWI statute; they made a lawful arrest; they read the DMV DWI Refusal Warnings, and the defendant refused to submit to either a breath or blood test. If the officer fails to demonstrate any one of those things, you will most likely win your refusal hearing and get your license back. If you lose the hearing, your license will be revoked for a one year period from the date of your refusal hearing.

Shock Probation

Shock probation acts as a split sentence of jail time and probation. You will be required to report to jail on the date-time as sentenced by the judge.

Probation supervision involves regular contact with a probation officer, drug/alcohol testing, compliance with all laws, home visits and searches, time on an ignition interlock device, no ownership of guns or dangerous weapons, staying in the county where you reside unless granted permission to leave, and possible continued alcohol and substance abuse treatment. Probation is a tough program, but it is the only way to minimize jail time. If you are on your best behavior throughout your sentence, your probation officer could petition the Court to release you from your sentence early. However, should you violate the terms of your probation you could be sentenced to insert max time in prison.

Bear in mind that Probation will control how and when you get your license back. They will also control the installation and monitoring of the ignition interlock device in any vehicle you either own or operate.

SCRAM

SCRAM is a brand name for alcohol monitoring anklets. The anklet is worn continuously and is constantly testing your skin for any signs of alcohol. It then makes a report and sends it to the monitoring agency.

Victim Impact Panel

The Victim Impact Panel also referred to as “VIP”, is your opportunity to hear from people whose lives have been affected by DWI. In almost every county in New York State the VIP is imposed as a sanction in alcohol-related driving convictions. In some courts, the judge will order you to attend a VIP at a specific time and location. In other courts, you may just be given a specific period of time in which you must attend a VIP. For additional information on the New York State Victim Impact Panel or to find a VIP in your county, please visit the following site: https://stopdwi.org/resources-victim-impact-panel

If you reside out of New York State, the courts may allow you to attend a different Victim Impact Panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Please note, you must have permission from the court to attend an out-of-state Victim Impact Panels. For more information, please visit MADD at https://maddvip.org/.

Zero Tolerance Law

A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a BAC of .02% but not more than .07% is guilty of a zero-tolerance violation. This is a traffic offense and you receive a notice to appear in front of an Administrative Law Judge at your regional Department of Motor Vehicles. At the hearing, the officer must prove that you are the person who was operating the vehicle; a valid request was made to submit to a chemical test; the chemical test was properly administered; the test showed you consumed alcohol, and the police officer made a lawful stop. If the officer has carried their burden of proving the case, the Administrative Law Judge will find you drove after having consumed alcohol. Your license will be suspended for 6 months and you will be required to pay a civil penalty of $125.

 

 

OUR CREDENTIALS

CALL ANYTIME: 1-800-570-1810

The DWI GUYS are operated by Nave Law, PLLC with corporate offices centrally located at 432 North Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204.

Our Albany office is located at 125 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205.

Our team of attorneys, covers the entire state of New York, which includes:

Albany: 518-675-3250

Syracuse: 315-200-1086

Utica/Rome: 315-200-1087

Binghamton: 607-201-1024

Watertown: 315-200-1088

Buffalo: 716-507-4083

Rochester: 585-653-2018

Fingerlakes: 585-653-2018

Hudson Valley: 845-704-7700

We empower you with legal representation by having a team of DWI attorneys with diverse backgrounds in criminal defense work in the state of New York. Our team consists of former prosecutors, judges and experienced criminal litigators, throughout the entire state of New York. Together, to form, what we believe is the most powerful, most experienced team of DWI lawyers ever assembled in the state of New York.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, then you are not alone. We can help. Contact us today to discuss your case at: 1-800-570-1810, or fill out this quick form.

Get my free case analysis

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

* indicates required field