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Top 10 most commonly asked DWI questions and answers*

I’ve been charged with a DWI, now what do I do?
Contact an attorney immediately. At LaMarche Safranko Law PLLC we can represent you and guide you through this very complex and ever-changing area of law.

It is very important that you retrace what happened. From the initial traffic stop, through the field sobriety testing, and ultimately through to the time of the arrest, it is important to meet with an attorney while the arrest is still fresh on your mind to ensure that all of the important facts are documented. Contact us immediately to help protect all of your rights.

If I am charged with a DWI will the court take my license when I appear in court?
In New York State, at the first court appearance a judge is required to take a defendant’s driver’s license upon a finding that the charging documents are legally sufficient and that a person operated his/her vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater.

Is there anything I can do to avoid losing my license at my first court appearance?
Maybe. If you took the breath test, you are entitled to a hearing regarding whether a Judge can take your driver’s license. If, through your lawyer, you are able to offer any evidence that tends to rebut the court’s initial findings, you may be able to keep your driver’s license during the pendency of the case.

If the court takes my license can I still drive to work?
If a court takes your license at the time of the arraignment, you may be entitled to a “hardship license,” which will allow you to drive to and from work. Your attorney should be prepared to make an application on your behalf to ensure that you can still drive during the pendency of the case.

What are the consequences if I refuse to take the breath test?
A refusal to take a breath test will result in the immediate suspension of your license at your first court appearance. However, within 15 days you are entitled to a Department of Motor Vehicle administrative refusal hearing at which time a judge will hear evidence and testimony and decide if your license should be revoked for a longer period of time.

If I get convicted of a DWI or a DWAI can I still get a license?
If you are convicted of a DWI offense, you may be entitled to a conditional license during the suspension or revocation period. Eligibility for a conditional license is contingent upon participating in a 7-week DMV drinking driving program. Any prior convictions may affect your eligibility for a conditional license.

Is there a difference between a “Hardship License” and a “Conditional License”?
Yes. A hardship license will allow you to drive to and from work only. A conditional license will allow additional driving privileges including driving to and from work and during the course of your business hours. Additional privileges available with a conditional license should be discussed with your attorney.

If I get convicted of a DWI offense will I have to install an ignition interlock device on my vehicle(s)?
In 2010, a new law took effect that requires any person convicted of a DWI offense to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that he/she owns or operates.

What is an Aggravated DWI?
In 2006 a law was enacted that enhanced the penalties and fines for any person who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .18 or greater.

What is the difference between a DWI conviction and a DWAI conviction?
Among other differences, the biggest difference is that a conviction for DWAI is a violation, which is not a criminal offense. On the other hand, a DWI is a misdemeanor, which is a crime. Additionally, a person who is convicted of a DWI will face more serious fines and license consequences.

*While the above information may help to answer some questions, every case has its own unique facts and circumstances and should be thoroughly reviewed in detail with your attorney.