New York Hardship Licenses

Massachusetts residents are sometimes arrested for DUI in other states. Having to deal with two motor vehicle departments, and the drunk driving consequences in each state, can be daunting. Fortunately, for those arrested for DUI in New York, it may be possible to receive a conditional or hardship license from the NY DMV. New York State VTL §1196 (7) provides that an out-of-state DUI defendant can be issued a "conditional privilege of operating a motor vehicle” in New York, so long as the out of state driver participates and in successfully completes the New York State Drunk Driver Program. The granting of this type of license is completely discretionary and the New York DMV has the right to refuse hardship license requests. Hardship Licenses which are granted during the term of pre-conviction administrative license suspensions in New York are referred to as pre-conviction conditional licenses (PCCLs). Hardship licenses  are known as conditional licenses in New York. A conditional license can be used to drive for employment, educational, medical, child care, and other activities and it allows up to 3 hours of driving each week for any reason. This type of  license is more restrictive than the Massachusetts hardship or Cinderella License, which allows holders to drive for any reason during the 12 hour period. 

Refusing the breath test in New York may allow you to avoid an aggravated DWI charge. However, it will result in a one year license  at your DWI arraignment. 

To get a NY hardship license, it must be shown that the suspension will deprive the applicant of his livelihood and this depravation will create an unwarranted and major financial hardship on the applicant and his immediate family. Alternatively, for suspension relief related to education, it must be demonstrated that the suspension will seriously impair the applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of his academic program.

New York Courts have recognized that the possibility of getting hardship driving privileges is an important element of the NY Prompt Suspension Law.  Consequently, New York issues Restricted Use Licenses are available under certain circumstances, such as for work, business, educational pursuits, or legitimate medical reasons. Documentation must be provided which substantiates the need to drive.

The rationale for granting hardship driving privileges to Massachusetts and other license holders who are charged with DUI or DWAI in New York is that because the New York Law suspends the driving privileges out-of-state licensees, it should also allow them to avail themselves of the same right as New York Licensees.

If you are Massachusetts Driver and you obtain hardship relief in New York, your record should be clear in the NDR and the Massachusetts Registry should grant you similar relief in Massachusetts. Likewise, it may be possible to persuade the Massachusetts Board of Appeal to give "full faith and credit" to the NY license. I have had success with this in the past.

Of course, in order to get aw New York Hardship License, the DUI defendant must demonstrate an “extreme hardship.” Keep in mind that even when a driver demonstrates such an “extreme hardship,” because of the discretionary nature of the relief, he or she can still be denied. Examples of relevant hardship license factors in New York include: the occupation and employment situation of the applicant, his or her health and medical condition, and the location of the applicant’s workplace, healthcare provider, or school to his or her residence. The Massachusetts Board of Appeal and Registry also consider these factors.

New York Hardship licenses, which are issued pursuant to Article 21A, Section 530, differ from Massachusetts hardship licenses in that the New York driving permit limits driving to and from the defendant’s place of employment, for example. There are no limitations on Mass. work licenses, which are valid for 12 hours each day.

New York Ignition Interlock Requirements

Under Leandra’s Law, New York law allows courts to impose an ignition interlock requirements as a condition of probation following conviction for DUI and other alcohol-related driving offenses.

However, pursuant to NY VTL § 1198, the ignition interlock requirement does reduce any license suspension and it has no connection to hardship license eligibility.

Leandra’s Law requires judges to require anyone convicted of DUI, including first offenders, to install ignition interlock devices for at least 180 days, for all drunk driving offenses committed after August 15, 2010.

Like Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts, the New York Law applies to any vehicle which the DUI offender owns or drives. However, unlike the Massachusetts IID law, the NY Law provides a special narrowly construed exception which allows DUI offenders to drive employer-owned vehicles, without interlock, for work purposes.