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The consequences of drunk driving charges in New York begin almost immediately for a motorist taken into custody by a police officer. Judges in Rockland Coumnty and other communities throughout the state must order a license suspension when a driver accused of driving while intoxicated appears in court for the first time. The suspension remains in effect until the case is concluded either through a conviction or dismissal of the charges.

Under state law, a motorist may request a hearing to present evidence showing that the loss of all driving privileges will be an extreme hardship. If the driver succeeds in proving that an extreme hardship exists, the court may grant a very limited right to drive referred to as a hardship privilege or hardship license.

A hardship hearing must be held within three days from the date of arraignment of the accused on the drunk driving charges. At the hearing, the burden is on the motorist to prove that being without a license will present an extreme hardship in traveling to and from doctor's appointments, school or work.

The law is strict in not allowing a motorist to delay the hearing for more than three business days from the date of the arraignment.

Extreme hardship requires proving more than mere inconvenience. The fact that a person facing a DWI charge will have to take public transportation or rely upon friends and family members for rides to school or work does not establish extreme hardship upon which a judge may grant limited driving privileges.

Proving hardship requires testimony from employers, school officials and other evidence to show the court that no other mode of transportation is available for the accused to use to get to work, school or medical appointments. Even if the court is convinced of the existence of an extreme hardship, it will only result in the modification of the license suspension to allow a person to drive to and from work during specific times and only on work days.

The license suspension pending prosecution could have serious consequences for a motorist accused of drunk driving. This posting offers a brief overview of one of the consequences of a DUI charge, but it is not offered to be relied upon as legal advice.

A person needing advice about driving while intoxicated should consult with an attorney familiar with the state's driving while intoxicated laws.

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