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It is axiomatic that driving under the influence of alcohol in New York constitutes a serious violation of law that carries with it commensurately serious penalties that can include fines, license suspension or revocation, and jail time. Retaining a law firm experienced with drunk driving litigation is your first line of defense against such charges, but if you are nonetheless convicted, is there anything else you can do to reduce the impact of that conviction? The answer may depend upon whether you are eligible to participate in the New York Drinking Driver Program.

This post provides only an overview of the Drinking Driver Program and its potential benefit to you if you are convicted of drunk driving. It is not offered, nor should it be relied upon, as legal advice which should only be obtained from an attorney. 

The Drinking Driver Program is primarily intended to provide some drivers convicted of drunk driving the opportunity to have a suspended license restored or, in the case of a revoked license, to gain the ability to apply for a new license. It cannot do any of the following:

  • avoid having to pay fines
  • reduce fines
  • delay the payment due date for any fines
  • avoid any other penalties

In other words, the program cannot undo a conviction, lessen charges or ameliorate fines and penalties, but it can offer a chance to at least conditionally restore your driving privilege when you would otherwise lose it.

The Drinking Driver Program consists of classroom instruction, individual and group activities, as well as screening and referral components. You are also required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $75 upon enrollment.

While you participate in the program, you will have access to a conditional driver's license. Classroom instruction takes a total of 16 hours and could be all that is required for program completion unless you are referred for formal evaluation and additional treatment. Upon successful completion of the program, your record of completion will be sent to the DMV, and then you can become eligible for license restoration or to apply for a new license.

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