Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cortland DWI Lawyer: Prosecutors Weigh In on Early Interlock Releases

All DWIs in New York State have a mandated (must do) ignition interlock device install at sentencing. Technically it must occur within 10 business days from the actual sentencing date. This has been NYS law since 2010. What that means is that all judges must order it as a condition (an obligation) at sentencing of each and every DWI and aggravated DWI in New York.  With the majority of DWI cases receiving a CD (conditional discharge) this is the primary and main condition.

It has to be ordered for a minimum time period of ONE YEAR. It can be ordered longer than that BUT one year is the absolute minimum.

What is the process to get an early release from the ignition interlock condition?
Are there ways to speed up the process?
Are some courts and/or judges unwilling to even entertain early releases?

Post-Sentencing Modification of any Conditions Requires Notice to the Monitor and the DA

Changes in New York law after 2010 allow people to request, to petition if you will for an early release IF two conditions exist:

1. The judge didn't order it (the IID) to be on longer than a year, and
2. You have not been placed on a term of probation supervision and monitoring (then probation decides if it ever gets released). In other words, you got a CD.

Notice will go to the Monitor for that county and to the District Attorney who handled sentencing of the case. This is so they can weigh in on how they feel about an early release. Maybe the DWI had special circumstances which they feel makes an early release questionable. Things like alcohol treatment being recommended on your evaluation or even ordered at sentencing, or perhaps you missed the VIP (victim impact panel) or you had a diagnosis of alcohol abuse on your evaluation, all of these things can make an early release not tenable. They get to give their opinion to the judge.
The monitor may have seen a few BAC readings on your IID. Nothing really high like a .05 BAC but maybe a few .03 or .04 readings that may call into question if you are truly abiding by the no alcohol before driving rule. Some people even have a bad reading on their IID the morning after a hard night partying, yes only time will lower a high BAC level.

Not All Parts of New York Have the Same Policy on DWI Sentencing and Modification 

In some parts of New York State early releases from anything related to DWI are rare. Out in Long Island, Westchester, and Rochester they take their sentencing on DWI very seriously and don't believe in lessening any of the restrictions regardless of the circumstances. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try but in many of these locales it is policy to hold the line and make everyone do all ordered DWI conditions fully, meaning NO early releases.  I know of one judge who on his own accord releases IID regularly with a showing of NO IID violations for six months. This is not the usual case which requires an attorney take the initiative and petition for an early release.

The Process is a Simple Petition to Release from the IID After Six Months

Request that the monitor send the DA and the Court a verification that your IID history is in fact clean, no violations. That you have in fact complied with the IID condition with proof of the install.
That now the court has everything they need to justify an early release.

The reason the legislature prompted the early release law was to encourage more people to be compliant. If you are compliant and good (no violations), you will be rewarded with an early release from the punishment. This was because there has been poor compliance overall with the IID program and condition with many people opting NOT to get it, to get rid of their car, or to wait until the future to comply at all.

Sometimes it is helpful to contact the IID monitor a little earlier than the six month point and get them to send a letter or an email notifying the judge and the DA that there have been NO violations to date. This can speed up the process a slight bit but it may sit on a judge's desk after that?


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