Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer The DDP week by week: New York Drinking Driver Program 2012

I have had many ADWI, DWI, and DWAI clients over the years take the NYS DMV DDP. In the past I have written about what the program was about, it's goals and purpose. In this blog I hope to be more specific of exactly what the 2012 DDP entails. To get a New York State conditional license after any DW, whether it is a refusal case, or any driving while Intoxicated charge you MUST eventually take the DDP.

Some of what I report on is unique to Tompkins county but most DDP protocols are standardized, and therefore could be applied Statewide.

Total: Seven consecutive weeks, one session per week. Approx. 15 hours

Place: Tompkins County, NY in the Mental Health Building on Green Street, 5th floor, downtown Ithaca.

Time: Tuesday Classes from 6:00 to 7:30PM.

Class session Week 1: 

Sign in, pay (must pay by third session), approx. cost $225 for DDP, Post Revocation Conditional license is approx. $75, fill out forms and releases.

The New York DDP next uses the RIASI test as an assessment tool. RIASI is short for "Research Institute on Addiction Self Inventory." It is a 49 question, 41 true/false and 8 items as to frequency and/or quantity of certain behaviors, it is a 15 minute test, developed in 1997 to predict the likelihood of DDP participants getting another DWI charge. In other words your degree of risk for recidivism.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Services (OASAS) has chosen the RIASI test to measure the level of substance abuse and/or the seriousness of the problem within DDP course attendees. Created by Tom Nochajski, Phd. who is an Associate Professor at the Center for Health and Social Research at the University of Buffalo, it is used by New Hampshire, and other states and lies at the core of many DWI programs.

For more information on this matter see the New Hampshire blog here:


Questions will be somewhat subtle as to the assessment of potential addictive behavior or patterns of substance abuse. The testers call this "covert content items" as they address or ask about hostility/anger, sensation/pleasure seeking, depression/mental illness, and other personality disorders/behaviors instead of direct questions about drinking alcohol, and/or abusing drugs.

NOTE: Three reasons can get you kicked out of DDP = loss of conditional license.

1. don't pay for classes by third class session
2. come to class drunk
3. miss three classes, 3 strike rule

If you miss a class, then that class must be made up in the next DDP go round.

Class Session Week 2:

1980s Film about DUI. Police cadets drive sober and then have drinks. Interaction with fellow classmates in break out groups. Discussion of driver, car, and the environment as to the areas affected by different things/situations/conditions. Discussion of BACs.

Class Session Week 3:

Discussion of the development alcoholism. Factors and characteristics are discussed. Distribution of a workbook called Prime for Life.  Homework given to do chapters in the workbook.

From the Prime for Life website:


PRIME For Life is an alcohol and drug program for people of all ages. It is designed to gently but powerfully challenge common beliefs and attitudes that directly contribute to high-risk alcohol and drug use. The program goals are to reduce the risk for health problems and impairment problems.

Class Session Week 4:

Show and tell: learning about the strengths (%) of alcohol in different size glasses of liquor, wine, beer, cocktails, and what constitutes a drink. Learning the 0-1-2-3- formula for amounts of alcoholic beverages you can drink in a given week, your risk, and how drinking at various levels (amounts) can affect you.

Personal assessments from the workbook on behavior. A movie about the harmful effects of alcohol on the body by Dr. Schneider.

Class Session Week 5

Focus on the dangers of excessive use of alcohol, impaired learning response, and problem drinking.
Alcohol abuse can disrupt higher order cognitive brain mechanisms such as working memory, learning, and decision making.

Class Session Week 6:

Workbook, more discussion of alcoholism, and assignment given to go over your DWI arrest. This is to be shared with the class.

Class Session Week 7:

DWI movie, then lecture, and then one of three envelopes was passed out to the participants:

1. one with a green slip for the return of your license and a letter
2. letter stating classes missed and make up dates
3. letter stating you need further counseling/evaluation

So there you have it, a short synopsis of the NYS DMV DDP.

        Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850