New York Court Discusses “Hardship” Exception to DUI License Suspension Requirement

Being arrested, charged, and convicted of a New York DWI offense can carry significant consequences for motorists. Indeed, as discussed below, even being charged with DWI can result in the immediate suspension of your license.  These consequences can include fines, mandatory participation in the New York Drunk Driver Program, probation, and even jail time. In addition, a DWI conviction can also result in a license suspension or revocation.

Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1193(2)(e)(7), under certain circumstances, a court can suspend the license of a person charged with DUI while the case is still pending. However, to comply with constitutional requirements, the statute allows for judges to make hardship exceptions. A recent case discusses how courts determine if someone charged with a New York DWI offense meets the requirements of a hardship exception.

The Facts of the Case

The defendant was pulled over after making an illegal left turn. When the officer approached the defendant’s car, he claimed to have noticed signs of intoxication. The officer administered a breath test, which indicated that the defendant’s blood-alcohol content was .087. The legal limit in New York is .08.

The defendant was charged with DWI, and at arraignment, the prosecution moved to suspend her license while the charges were pending under section 1193. The defendant requested a hardship exception, explaining that she lives in Queens and works in New Jersey, which is a 63-mile round-trip commute. The defendant also explained that there was no other way for her to get to work.

The court began its analysis by noting that there is no rigid formula when determining if a defendant meets the hardship exception, and the decision rests largely in the judge’s discretion. In making its determination, the court looked at previous decisions by other New York courts, finding the following considerations to be important:

  • Whether there were other licensed people in the defendant’s home who could take the defendant to work;
  • The availability of public transportation, and whether the defendant can afford the costs;
  • The location of the defendant’s job;
  • Whether any co-workers could assist the defendant in getting to work; and
  • Any other factor the court considered appropriate.

The court conducted a cursory analysis of the defendant’s application for a hardship exception before granting it. The court was convinced that the defendant met her burden by providing documentation of employment that required her to drive to work, due to the distance between the defendant’s home and her workplace. The court explained that, had it refused to grant the hardship exception, the defendant would be left unemployed.

Have You Been Arrested for a New York DWI?

If you have recently been arrested for drunk driving in New York, you may be able to take action to spare your license from being suspended during the pendency of the case. At the New York DWI defense law firm of Tilem & Associates, we represent individuals charged with all types of New York offenses, including drunk driving charges. We work hard to defend our clients’ rights from the moment we are retained, taking preventive action to limit the effects the arrest has on their life. To learn more, and to see how we can help you defend against the charges you are facing, call 877-377-8666 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

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