Getting arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York comes with all kinds of consequences. People often have to spend the night or even the rest of the weekend in jail. The criminal consequences possibly include fines and jail time. The state typically also suspends the license of those arrested for and convicted of chemical impairment at the wheel.

Losing your license can be a major hardship whether you have a demanding career or perform the duties of caregiver for your children or aging parent. You may not be the only one who suffers negative consequences if you lose your license. Thankfully, New York does work with some individuals accused of impaired driving by allowing them to apply for a conditional license. 

How a conditional license could help

Under the conditional license program, drivers with a history of chemical impairment at the wheel can continue to drive in certain circumstances. This license only applies to those driving personal vehicles and not to those with commercial license issues.

The program generally limits the time of day when people can drive and also restricts drivers to only certain destinations, such as medical facilities, locations where they pursue court-ordered treatment and educational facilities, as well as their home and place of employment. Those with a conditional license will also have one afternoon/early evening a week when they can drive other places for errands.

While such restrictions do limit your personal freedoms, they allow you to continue driving and thus remain independent even after a DWI conviction. Provided that you comply with the rules of your conditional license, you will eventually get your standard license back.

Getting a conditional license is not automatic

While the suspension of your license is an automatic process after a DWI conviction, getting a conditional license is not. You will have to submit paperwork and attend a court hearing to demonstrate the necessity of the conditional license. You will also need to attend mandatory impaired driver courses.

Whether you need to defend yourself against a DWI or look into ways to regain your freedom after a recent conviction, understanding New York’s laws and licensing programs can help you make more informed choices.