Interviewer: This initial hearing, do you have a lot of people that go to the hearing and try to get their license back, or do they just give up?
You Have a Better Chance of Success Petitioning for the Hardship License
Ben: I have a fair amount of clients that do try to fight the license suspension there. However, at the DMV hearing, they usually give weight to the police officer’s testimony so it is unlikely you will prevail. It doesn’t hurt to try, but it’s almost not worth it, I tell my clients. You might as well just go for the hardship hearing and get your license back for what you actually need it for.
Interviewer: How long does it take to have the hardship license hearing scheduled?
Ben: You can ask for it at the arraignment, and usually you’ll get it pretty quickly, typically in a few weeks.
Interviewer: So, you are looking at least a few weeks without a license.
Ben: Yes, that is correct.
If You Are Convicted, Your License Is Typically Suspended for a Year
Interviewer: If you lose the DMV hearing and also the hardship hearing, how long will you be without a driver’s license?
Ben: The license will be suspended during the arraignment of the case. Then after you plead guilty or you’re found guilty, it’s going to be suspended for I believe, a year. Of course, if you’re not guilty, it’s not going to be suspended.
Interviewer: You get your license back immediately?
Ben: Yes, that is right.
What Is the Penalty for Driving While Your License Is Suspended for an Alcohol-Related Offense?
Interviewer: What happened if you drive while your license is suspended for an alcohol related offense?
Ben: Then you’ll get arrested for driving without a license or driving with a suspended license and that’s another misdemeanor.
Interviewer: How often do you see that happen?
Ben: Actually, being caught by the police driving while under an alcohol-related license suspension is a common occurrence on Long Island. It’s a truly stupid thing to do to be honest.
Interviewer: Let’s say you lose the DMV hearing and you don’t get a hardship license. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t drive for up to a year?
Ben: Yes, that is the penalty for a DWI.
As part of a Plea Bargain, Can You Have an Ignition Interlock Device Installed in Order to Have Your Driver’s License Restored?
Interviewer: Are you able to negotiate an ignition interlock in lieu of a suspension?
Ben: If you do accept a plea bargain, that can be part of the plea. You will have to install an ignition interlock device in your car and in order to operate your vehicle, you must test negative when you use the breathalyzer before starting the car. Part of the plea is you’ll get your driver’s license back as long as you install that in any vehicle that you drive.
Interviewer: That might be one of the conditions of a hardship license?
Ben: Not of a hardship license, per say, but of a plea to the charge, that you put it in your car and then you can drive on conditions on you having it. Usually, with a hardship license you don’t have to have to install the ignition interlock device.
Interviewer: What if you plead guilty or you’re found guilty of first time DWI and you go through the year? At the end of the year you just get your license back, or do you have to put an interlock on it after that?
Ben: No. Then you get your license back. You have to go back to the DMV and fill out paperwork, but you should just get it back.
DWIs and Commercial Drivers’ License Holders (CDL)
Interviewer: What happens if you have a commercial driver’s license and you are charged with a DWI?
Ben: If you have a commercial driver’s license, it makes it a lot more difficult to get the license restored. Unfortunately, many times you can’t get the CDL back if you have a commercial driver’s license.
As an attorney, you really have to fight hard to defend DWIs received by commercial drivers because they can lose their livelihood.
Interviewer: You’ll be fired as a commercial driver?
It Is Difficult to Have Commercial Driver’s License Restored after a DWI Conviction
Ben: You’ll be fired because you are unable to perform that job anymore. You can’t get the commercial drivers’ license back at all and you’ll also be fired anyway because you were pulled over in the first place.
DWIs and Drivers under the Age of 21
Interviewer: What happens if you’re under 21 and you get pulled over? What’s the limit for alcohol in your system? What will happen to you? Will you still be charged with a DWI?
Drivers less than 21 Years of Age Are Still Subject to DWI Charges and License Suspensions
Ben: You’ll still be charged with a DWI and they’ll use the same limits, but they can suspend your license until you’re 21 at that point. That’s one of the differences. You can also be charged with drinking under the age of 21, which is not as serious as you’d think, but it’s an additional charge.
Interviewer: If you’re 18, you can lose your license till your 21?
Ben: Yes, until you reach the age of 21, exactly and be charged with it too.