A driver’s license suspension or revocation can be one of the most disruptive consequences of a DWI conviction, especially if you drive to work, school, or other important errands. Losing your driver’s license could throw your daily commute and life tasks into chaos, especially if you live somewhere without good options for public transportation.

Fortunately, New York allows you to apply for a conditional license after a DWI conviction or even while you wait for your DWI case to resolve. A conditional license grants you limited driving privileges that can make a big difference in your daily life.

Because DWIs are serious offenses under New York law, conditional licenses are only granted in limited situations. The best way to determine if you’re eligible for a conditional license is to talk to a New York DWI lawyer about the unique circumstances in your case.

What Are the Requirements for a Conditional License in NY?

Conditional licenses are available to drivers who have been convicted of drug or alcohol-related driving violations such as DWI or DWAI.

Generally, you lose your driving privileges as soon as you’re charged with a DWI and the State can show a certified copy of a breath test result over .08 – your license gets designated as “suspension pending prosecution” by the judge assigned to your case.

At this point, you could appeal to the court for a hardship license, which grants you very limited driving rights while your case gets resolved. Hardship licenses are available only if you don’t have any DWI charges on your record in the previous 5 years. You must also prove that you have no viable alternative to driving – either there’s no public transportation or taxis or you cannot afford that option.

You are not eligible to get a conditional driver’s license or a hardship license if you refused a breathalyzer or chemical test during your DWI arrest.

When Can You Get a Conditional License?

If you had a valid driver’s license before your offense, you can apply for a pre-conviction conditional license from the New York DMV 30 days from the date of your arraignment. With a pre-conviction conditional license, you can continue to use your car for your daily responsibilities as your DWI case gets resolved in court.

If you get convicted of a DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked for a period of time. In New York, a DWAI conviction usually carries a 90-day driver’s license suspension, while a more serious DWI conviction results in a 6-month driver’s license revocation.

Once you’ve been convicted, if you don’t have a previous DWI conviction on your record in the past 5 years, you can apply for a post-conviction conditional license.

In order to get a conditional license, you must enroll in the New York DMV’s Impaired Driver Program (IDP), a 7-week educational program with 16 hours of classroom sessions. If you fail to complete this program, your conditional license can be revoked and only reissued once.

You Are NOT Eligible for a Conditional License If:

  • You’ve ever been convicted of homicide, assault, or criminal negligence while driving
  • Your eligibility for the IDP program is based on a fatal accident conviction
  • You can get a NY conditional license for drivers with out-of-state licenses but it is more complicated. 
  • You’ve had more than one other unrelated driver’s license revocation or suspension in the last 3 years (chemical test refusals do not count)
  • You have a history of accidents, incidents, convictions, or a mental or medical condition that makes you an “unusual and immediate risk” if allowed to drive

Can You Get a Conditional License After a Second or Third DWI?

You will not be eligible for a conditional license in New York if you have another DWI or DWAI conviction on your record in the last 5 years. Also, you cannot get a conditional license if you’re facing your third DWI or DWAI offense within the last 25 years.

Where Can You Drive With a Conditional License in NY?

If you successfully apply for a conditional driving license, you get limited driving privileges that allow you to drive ONLY in the following circumstances:

  • To and from your workplace, job site, or place of employment
  • While you are at work, if you need to drive to perform your job duties
  • To and from a DMV office to handle your conditional license or attend classes or authorized programs under the Impaired Driver Program (IDP)
  • To and from class at an accredited school, college, university, or a state-approved vocational or technical training institution (does NOT apply to high schools)
  • To and from probation activities as required by a court
  • To and from medical appointments that are necessary for you or a member of your household, only if you have a written statement from your licensed medical provider
  • To take your child to and from school or daycare
  • Anywhere you want during an assigned 3-hour period once per week

Conditional licenses are not valid for operating taxis or other commercial vehicles that require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). So if you need a commercial driver’s license to drive as a part of your job, you will not be able to fulfill those duties on a conditional license.

Your DWI attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the process of getting a conditional license so that you can continue with your daily responsibilities.

Can Your Conditional License Get Revoked?

Your conditional license will get revoked if you violate any of the conditions listed above or get dropped from the Impaired Driving Program (IDP), which is required.

You will also face revocation if you get convicted of a moving traffic violation, another alcohol- or drug-related violation, or any other traffic violation that requires revocation.

If your conditional license gets revoked, you must not drive under any circumstances.

Even with your conditional license revoked, you may still benefit from completing the state’s Impaired Driving Program. Depending on your situation, completing the IDP may help the process of getting fully re-licensed after your revocation period ends. Talk to an experienced New York DWI lawyer today to understand your best options moving forward.

Schedule a no-risk case consultation with our leading DWI attorneys now. You can reach us at our New York offices at (212) 372-7218 and our New Jersey offices at (973) 854-0098.