Thursday, October 17, 2013

Understanding the New York Conditional and Restricted Driver's License

The Conditional Clearly states Conditional = ALCOHOL

I get calls daily from people who want to know either: what is going to happen to their driver's license or what has happened to their driver's license. It may have been suspended by the DMV, and they don't know why?

They may have a license from out-of-state, and received a suspension notice from their home state, again wondering why? Why me? Why now? What have I done? What do I need to do? Getting things straightened out (as in rectified) with the DMV begins with an investigation into the reason (s) for their suspension.

In New York State a driver's license (or privilege) can be suspended for many different reasons. Remember NYS can ONLY suspend privileges of Out-of-State holders, they can't suspend your home state license, only your home state can do that.

Here's the BIG TEN reasons for a NYS License Suspension:

Unpaid child support can get your driver's license suspended;
Unpaid tickets, Court fines, and/or DMV surcharges can get your driver's license suspended;
Three speeding tickets within 18 months can get your driver's license suspended;
11 points from various traffic violations within 18 months can get your driver's license suspended;
Driving without insurance can get your license revoked for a year;
Physical (medically related) illness and/or psychological illness can get your license suspended;
Using a false driver's license (altered or unlawful use) to obtain alcohol (under 21) can get your license suspended;
Leaving the scene of an accident with injuries can get your license suspended;
Being charged with a DWI can get your license suspended;
Refusing to take a police requested blood and/or breath test can get your license suspended.

NOTE: License Suspension and License Revocation are different. Suspensions are generally shorter, easier to terminate, and the underlying privileges to drive still exist. Revocation means cancellation of privileges. It may require classes, high fines, longer time periods, re-testing (written and/or road and/or medical), completion of rehabilitation and/or treatment for the license to be re-instated (re-issued).

What should you do after you get suspended?

Get a copy of your NYS DMV abstract, currently $10.00. Even out-of staters can get a copy of their NYS record (to see any action pending) based upon an address and DOB (date of birth). These out-of-state license holders may have even been assigned a nine digit NYS driver ID because of previous infractions (violations).

A second way to discover what is amiss is to contact the NYS DMV Driver Improvement Unit in Albany, NY. Local DMV records generally go back 10 years but Albany has your lifetime driving history. You may have issues that go back 15 or 20 years that require correction.

Driving is not a luxury for some people, it is a necessity. Is it even possible to get some type of license (privilege) while you are in a state of suspension or revocation.

Now that you know why your privileges were suspended or revoked, you have to ask three questions:

First question, are you even "eligible" for a special license (restricted or conditional)?

If the suspension is for monies due, then NO, they must be paid first.

NOTE: Some courts will not even let you pay the suspension lift fee (currently $70.00) UNTIL all the underlying tickets (citations/violations) are completely resolved (disposed of).

If the suspension is for speeding tickets and/or too many points, then YES.
If the suspension is for a DWI, then YES if you have not had a prior DWI within 5 years.

Second question, is the suspension from POINTS and/or SPEEDS or a DWAI drug conviction?

You can apply for and receive a RESTRICTED license at the NYS DMV. It is a pretty simple form. The restricted license is to drive ONLY for work, school, and medical care during the time of your suspension. Suspension periods will vary, from a low of 31 days to a high of one year, depending upon the underlying reason for it.

Third question, is the suspension for a DWI alcohol or a DWAI alcohol? 

The main word here is ALCOHOL, then you are probably eligible for a CONDITIONAL driver's license.

The conditional driver's license is ONLY for alcohol related offenses. It also gives the holder the ability to drive for treatment, rehabilitation, education, and counseling (all relating to their sobriety), and for work purposes (scope/course of employment), medical, and education.

The good news is that the DMV does not require PROOF of the job, school, and/or medical locations. The bad news is if you lie on their form (and attest by signing to it's truthfulness) you are guilty of a crime. Not a good idea to lie on any DMV applications to obtain privileges you are not legally (administratively) entitled to.

There you have an explanation of the two main types of special licenses in NYS. There is another new type of restricted license for those with multiple DWIs, a long term history of violations, multiple accidents, and many points BUT that is a story for a different day. That type of restricted would come with an Ignition Interlock for a great many years.

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

Originally, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father was a NYS corrections officer, and my mother a waitress. I now live in Ithaca, NY with my wife (of 25 years), and four kids. I have a B.S. in Human Biology, Doctorates in Law and Chiropractic, and a Post Graduate in Acupuncture. I practiced as a Chiropractic Physician in Florida from 1986 to 1995. I graduated law school in 1997, and went on to practice trial law in FL, NY, NJ, and PA. I love practicing criminal defense and injury law within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Over 95% of the cases that I take on are New York DWI defense cases. I am certified as a breath tester by the Department of Transportation, the guidelines of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). I am certified in Field Sobriety Tests, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 450 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 425 informative videos on my youtube channel.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. Included in Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York are materials I provide clients, such as my fee agreement and ways to avoid misdemeanor probation. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.