At a DWI arraignment, the defendant’s driving privileges will be suspended pending the outcome of the case. In many cases, thirty days after arraignment, the defendant will be eligible for a conditional license. A conditional license is a restricted driving privilege granting the defendant limited driving privileges to and from work, school, medical appointments, court ordered activities etc. In order to obtain a conditional license, the defendant must sign up for the Drinking Driver Program through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.  An individual is eligible to participate in the Drinking Driver Program once every five years.  

There is some confusion regarding the five year eligibility requirement for the Drinking Driver Program. Many people are under the mistaken belief that the five year window runs from conviction to conviction; however, this is inaccurate.  The five year window runs from the date an individual last completed or was eligible to complete the Drinking Driver Program to the new arrest date for a subsequent DWI charge. Thus, when an individual is eligible to complete the Drinking Driver Program and chooses not to, he or she will still be ineligible for conditional driving privileges for the next five years.  

For more information regarding the Drinking Driver Program and Conditional licenses, See. The DMV’s informational packet at  http://www.dmv.ny.gov/broch/c40.pdf