DWI, Drugs & Alcohol Defense Attorney

Criminal Law Cases

Criminal Law Cases License Suspensions in New York:

Criminal Defense Attorneys can defend the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspension or revocation your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in New York (applies to out-of-state licensed drivers or unlicensed operators within NY) or a New York State driver's license for a number of reasons. 

The New York DMV enforces different requirements depending on the reason for your NY privilege to drive or driver's license revocation or suspension.  Even if you do not have a NYS driver's license, the New York DMV maintains a record of any such suspension and assigns such motorist an identification number which accumulates a list of active infractions until resolved (and, the record of same).


  • Driving While Intoxicated (D.W.I.).
  • Chemical breath test refusal (at Police Station, not the small hand-held device at scene).
  • Driving While Ability Impaired Drugs (D.W.A.I. Drugs).


Ticket scofflaw; i.e., failure to respond to traffic ticket at the local court level (unresolved suspensions will remain on your NY driving record forever).

  • Alcohol and/or drug violation(s).
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (D.W.A.I.).
  • Motor vehicle speed contest(s).

Blood alcohol content (BAC) levels and their corresponding offense(s) are as follows.  Below are mandatory revocations unless noted for “suspension”:

  • Driving while ability impaired (DWAI alcohol): between 0.05% to 0.07% (suspension)
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI):  0.08% bac or higher up to 0.17% bac.
  • Aggravated DWI: 0.18% bac or higher.
  • Driving while ability impaired by Drugs (DWAI drugs): driving while impaired “to any extent” by use of a drug, their physical and mental abilities of such person.
  • Driving with a combination of drugs and alcohol (DWAI/combination):
  • Zero Tolerance Law: If you're under twenty-one years old and driving with a bac of 0.02% to 0.07% (suspension).

Revocation of New York Driving Privilege or Driver's License:

When convicted by plea or after trial of any type of the alcohol related offense shown as above, you will lose your privilege to drive or license in New York and face potentially severe fines and penalties.

When your driver license is revoked (versus, suspended), DMV deems it effectively cancelled. Once the revocation period is over, you'll be required to apply for a new driver license (or, privilege) before you can start driving here in N.Y. again.

Before you can restore your revoked driver's license, you must first apply to the DMV Driver Improvement Unit when:

  • Complete the revocation period in full (HOWEVER – such person may file their application approximately two months early to avoid any DMV lag time.  The NYS DMV may take up to 12 weeks to process your request).
  • Resolve any suspensions from scofflaws in the local courts or elsewhere (if applicable).
  • Pay suspension termination fees ($70.00 per ticket), re-application fees, or civil penalties.

Pursuant to NYS statute and DMV Regulations, all motorists within the State have at licensing or by operation, automatically consent to a chemical test (e.g., breath, blood, urine, or saliva) if requested by law enforcement for the purpose of measuring alcohol or drug content.  Therefore, if you refuse when asked to take a chemical test, your New York privilege or driver's license will be revoked for at least one year.

Licensing off a “refusal” can be quite complicated to get it right.  One must consider overlapping suspension/revocation periods, adjourned DMV refusal hearings, and dates of prior offenses, if any.  Suffice it here to say, conditional licensing is available for the entire year long revocation if your counsel, procedure and history line-up correctly.  Otherwise, you’re in for a long, cold winter!

Suspension of New York Driving Privilege or Driver's License:

An alcohol related DWAI (VTL 1192(1)) carries a ninety day suspension of one’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the State of New York.  but some drivers are eligible for temporary driving permits called “conditional licenses,” which sometimes require Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs).

Typically, you can get a conditional license if:

  • This is your first DWI or DWAI conviction.
  • You enroll in the Impaired Driver Program.

Thus, if you haven’t had a prior within five years, you may be eligible for a conditional license. If you were convicted of your first DWI or DWAI conviction, the NYS DMV will determine you're eligibility to participate in an Impaired Driver Program (IDP).  Upon enrollment, if eligible, you will receive a conditional license for the entire period of suspension (or, revocation, for that matter).

Driver’s Responsibility Assessment (DRA):
When your driver's license is suspended for a traffic conviction, you will need to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee before your license is reinstated.  DRAs are: alcohol related conviction - $750.00 in a single payment or $250.00 per year for three years.

Fees to Reinstate Your Suspended License
Depending on the type of violation, your NY driver license suspension will involve a variety of fees. Refer to the correspondence you receive from your local court, state/federal court, or Traffic Violations Bureau for an exact breakdown of fees.

In addition to paying any civil penalties, tickets, fines, or other charges, you must pay the following DMV suspension termination fees:

  • Definite suspensions: $50.
  • Indefinite suspensions: $70.
  • Out-of-state drivers (without a NYS license application): $25.

CDL Suspensions in New York
The following DWI/DWAI restrictions in New York are stricter for commercial drivers.

  • DWI: bac of 0.04% or higher.
  • DWAI (alcohol): 0.02% bac or higher, if you're under 21 years old.

If your standard New York driver's license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled, the NY DMV will also revoke such person’s commercial driving privileges.
On a second offense related to alcohol, a controlled substance, or a felony violation, such person will lose their New York commercial driver's license for life.