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Understanding DWI in NY: The Hardship License

If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated not only are you exposed to severe punishment such as jail, probation and fines you are also subject to penalties and restrictions on your ability to drive.

In New York state driving is not a right but a privilege. If arrested for DWI/DUI the Court may suspend or revoke your licenses for various reasons. If after you are arrested you consent to a breath test and you are accused of having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, the judge at your arraignment may (and likely will) suspend your driver’s license pending prosecution of the DWI/DUI. This can have serious consequences. Most people need to drive for work, school and medical appointments, etc. The saying “you don’t know what you have till it’s gone” is relevant in this context. Think about it, how would your life be affected if you could no longer drive?

The law does have a few narrow exceptions that may allow you to drive after your arrest and before the resolution of your case. The DWI/DUI attorneys at Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn, P.C. are all former prosecutors familiar with the law and are best prepared to help you get your driving privileges restored. One such way is to ask the Court to issue a Hardship Privilege otherwise known as “Hardship License.”

Obtaining a Hardship license is not a guarantee. Your lawyer must be familiar with New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1193(2)(e)(7)(e) the law governing the Hardship License. To get a Hardship license a hearing must be held before the court. The hearing judge will determine if the suspension will result in an “extreme hardship.” The hardship only applies if you cannot obtain alternative transportation to and or from work, necessary medical treatment for you or member of your household or school.

The hearing MUST be held within three business days of your arraignment. As such, it is imperative to retain a lawyer as soon as possible to begin preparations for the Hardship Hearing.

At the hearing it must be proven to the judge that a hardship exists. Simply telling the judge through testimony will not be enough. At Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn, P.C., we encourage our clients to bring the following information to the hearing:

  • Proof of employment, such as a recent paystub.
  • Proof of your address, such as a utility bill.
  • Proof of school (if applicable).
  • Proof of medical appointments (if applicable).
  • Proof of the cost for taxi, train, bus, etc., from home to work, school or doctor. (See below for helpful links)

Assuming the Court grants the Hardship License you will only be allowed to drive within the limits set by the Court. You will be given a document with the times permitted to drive and the locations you are allowed to drive to and from. Driving outside this will result in an arrest.

The Nassau County DWI/DUI lawyers at Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn, P.C. are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist you in preparing for and helping you obtain your hardship license. You can contact us at 516-858-1266 or by visiting

Long Island Railroad

Nassau County Bus Schedule

Suffolk County Bus Schedule



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