If you are arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, DWI/DUI, in the State of New York your driving privileges will likely be suspended at your initial hearing, or arraignment. For most people, the ability to operate a motor vehicle is not a luxury -- it is a necessity. Having your license suspended, therefore, can create a serious problem. Fortunately, you may be able to get a hardship license in New York if you can prove that the inability to drive creates an "extreme hardship." Only an experienced New York criminal defense attorney can evaluate your specific circumstances and advise you regarding your ability to obtain a hardship license; however, a basic understanding of the New York hardship law may be beneficial in the meantime.
In the State of New York, the law allows for the immediate suspension of your driving privileges if you are charged with certain alcohol related driving offenses and/or if you refuse to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for DUI/DWI. Because the suspension of your license is considered to be administrative in nature a conviction is not required for the suspension to take effect. Once your license has been suspended, it will not be reinstated until the conclusion of your case unless you are able to secure a hardship license. If you are ultimately convicted of DWI/DUI the suspension period may continue pursuant to the sentence imposed by the court.
Vehicle and Traffic Law 1193(2)(e)(7)(e) is where the ability to obtain a hardship license can be found in New York and states, in pertinent part:
"If the court finds that the suspension imposed pursuant to this subparagraph will result in extreme hardship, the court must issue such suspension, but may grant a hardship privilege, which shall be issued on a form prescribed by the commissioner."
To secure a hardship license, therefore, you must convince a judge that the inability to operate a motor vehicle creates an "extreme hardship" for you. So what qualifies as an "extreme hardship? Vehicle and Traffic Law 1193(2)(e)(7)(e) goes on to define extreme hardship as:
"...the inability to obtain alternative means of travel to or from the licensee's employment, or to or from necessary medical treatment for the licensee or a member of the licensee's household, or if the licensee is a matriculating student enrolled in an accredited school, college or university travel to or from such licensee's school, college or university if such travel is necessary for the completion of the educational degree or certificate."
In essence, the law requires you to prove that the inability to drive means you will not be able to get to work, school, or important medical appointments. The court will likely require you to present evidence in support of your claim of "extreme hardship"; merely claiming hardship will likely be insufficient.
If you are faced with a license suspension, or your license has already been suspended, contact the experienced New York criminal defense attorneys at SIMON & GILMAN, LLP right away to discuss whether or not you qualify for a hardship license.