Friday, August 23, 2013

Not to be Overlooked, New York State DMV DWI Administrative Driver's License Penalties and Phases

The Precious NYS Driver's License from

Our youngest (16) just got her driver's license. After teaching four kids to drive my nerves are shot. But Ahhh the joys of youth and freedom. She is thrilled, but I have strange admixture of P and P. The pleasure of not having to drive her to a gazillion activities, and the pain of worrying about her.

The privilege of driving, especially up in the woods (the countryside of Upstate New York) is not a glorious extra, it is to many an absolute necessity. This is Not Brooklyn, mass transit can be iffy (ask the Ithaca College and Cornell students). The TCAT (Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit) is not the apple of everyone's eye. My kids hated it. I rode it once, it serves, is it on time like the Tokyo Trains? No.


Wow, we live in a world of so many acronyms, NYS, DMV, DWI, PCCL, PRCL, DDP, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I get lost in going over stuff with my clients concerning their cases that the letters all get jumbled together. It can be messy. The lofty goal of this blog post is to help clarify the muddy acronym waters of New York DWI.

1. Administrative Issues = License Issues

First, dealing with your license issues are as important as handling your criminal case. A license is a permission to do something, so it is afforded less weight legally. In other words, easy to get and easy to lose. The standard is even less than the civil standard to award money in a car accident (more likely than not).

2. Administrative (License) Issues Can Be Double 

If you violate (DWI/DUI offend) in one state but are licensed in another you face "potential" penalties in both. Suspensions of privileges, revocations of privileges, fines, surcharges, classes, and evaluations are all potential penalties. Some are not voluntary, not if you ever want to be licensed anywhere.

3. States Often Communicate with One Another About Licensure

Some states will inform other states immediately, some not at all. Some will grant reciprocity (equal credit for penalties and/or classes) and some will not. Your DWI/DUI attorney should help you with easing some of these burdens if possible. Either way, it will eventually go to the National driver Registry (all states must check this Federal database before re-newing or issuing a driver's license). New Federal laws have placed burdens on the states to now police the identity and legality of their citizens.

4. States May Do Nothing with Your License or A lot

Some states, like Pennsylvania, on first time out-of-state DUI/DWI do NOTHING. Some states like New Jersey, fine $3000 and suspend with no conditional or restricted privileges (based on BAC) for up to 7 months (technically 210 days).

Licensure has Phases from


In New York State, you will go through various phases of licensure after a DWI case begins.

PHASE ONE, there is an administrative Court suspension of FULL privileges to drive in NYS. Remember, NYS courts/judges only have power (jurisdiction) over NYS privileges. So if you have an out-of-state license it should be good in the other 49 states.

This is called the "suspension pending prosecution." This occurs with a BAC of .08 or higher. Your attorney can apply for a hardship privilege license at this phase. This can allow partial driving privileges for work, school, and medical care.

PHASE TWO, you can apply at the local DMV for a PCCL (pre-conviction conditional license) after 30 days from the administrative court suspension. You may need a certified copy of your out-of-state license history/abstract to apply if you are from out-of-state.

PHASE THREE, if your criminal case is resolved then your attorney can request a stay (delay) of the license suspension. This is called a "twenty-day license" because it is only for 20 days from the sentencing date.

PHASE FOUR, suspension or revocation of license privileges begins, then the NYS DMV's DDP (drinking driver program), and the second type of conditional license (the PRCL: Post Revocation Conditional License). This is usually available at the local DMV (to sign up and receive) about 10 to 14 days after sentencing.

PHASE FIVE, after completion of the seven week DDP, for first time offenders, 21 YO or older, and no other issues (talk with an attorney). Re-apply (pay more $) and receive back FULL privileges. One caveat, this is a FULL PROBATIONARY license for six months. One cell phone violation, seat belt violation, anything beyond a parking ticket and you are SOL.


So there you have it in all it's glory. Now if you refused a breath test, a different course, if you are under 21, a different course, if you are from out-of-state, a potentially different course. If you, if you, I think you get that it is NOT always one size fits all, and this is the general course of events on NYS DWI DMV stuff. Always consult with an attorney about your particular (specific) situation.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law