If you are a first time DWI or DUI offender in New York State, you may be asking yourself what’s next. You are probably wondering what will happen to your car, your license, your job, and your permanent criminal record. First, you have only a short amount of time from the date of your arrest to successfully fight to keep your drivers license at your administrative license hearing, or your license could be automatically suspended. Here are some of the most important things you should do when getting charged with DWI or DUI.
Seek legal counsel
It’s important to understand the NYS laws when it comes to DWI or DUI. Hiring a qualified attorney with experience in handling DUI cases can go a long way toward making this process a little less confusing. Anthony J Lana can help you secure the most favorable outcome for your DWI.
Report to Court
It goes without saying that you should show up to your court date to avoid any further legal trouble. A driver arrested for DWI will typically have their first court appearance within 2 weeks after their arrest. The initial appearance before a judge is called an “arraignment.” At the arraignment the law requires a defendant be advised of the charges against them, their constitutional rights and that they be allowed to enter a plea (usually “not guilty”). If the arrest is for a first time DWI offense most defendants are not required to post “bail.” Instead, the are “released in their own recognizance” and given a new date to return to court with an attorney.
At the arraignment the defendant is also subject to have their driver’s license (if NYS license) or their privilege to drive in NYS (out-of-state drivers) “suspended pending” the rest of the prosecution. NYS DWI law requires the judge handling the arraignment to issue as “suspension pending” if the police have turned in a sworn document showing that a valid “chemical test” was given and that the result showed .08% or more blood alcohol concentration.
The “suspension pending” will remain in place until the case is resolved through a plea bargain, or the charge is dismissed by the prosecutor or court or a verdict after trial occurs.
Carry out the punishment
The judge on your case will sentence you to a variety of punishments that may include fines, classes, probation, revocation or restriction of your license, and even jail. It’s important that you abide by this sentencing in order to fulfill your conviction and move past it in order to someday get your license back. The severity of your punishment will depend on the severity of your offense.
Carry the proper insurance
Once you get a DUI, there is a good chance that your insurance company will terminate your policy. If you still have your driver’s license, it’s important to always carry insurance.You may be required to file an SR-22, which serves as proof that you have the proper amount of insurance.
The SR-22 is essentially a document that proves that a driver is financially responsible and has purchased the required amounts of auto insurance to be legally allowed to drive in New York. SR-22 insurance is not mandatory, and will only be required for those who are deemed to be “very high” or “maximum” risk by the state and by insurance companies. Those who are required to carry a SR-22 will need to have it with them at all times while driving a vehicle, and failure to produce the SR-22 can mean significant legal trouble.
Get your license back
After you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you will likely lose your license for a period of time. Once you fulfill the suspension, you may be eligible to get a temporary or restricted license that will allow you to get back and forth to work and the alcohol program you will likely need to attend.
To be eligible to get your license back, you must demonstrate that you’ve completed or are in the process of completing any punishment you’ve been sentenced to. You will also have to show proof of insurance to New York State by filing your SR-22 form (if necessary). Finally, you’ll have to pay any NYS fees imposed to reissue your license. Check with your DMV for the process.