HOW TO GET A CONDITIONAL LICENSE FOLLOWING A DWAI OR DWI

First, let’s explain some of these terms. As you probably know, DWI is the acronym for Driving While Intoxicated–this is a more serious offense than an DWAI (Driving While Abilities Impaired). In many cases, defendants who are facing their first DWI offense are given the option to plea to a reduced DWAI violation and granted a conditional discharge.
A DWAI conviction bears a 90-day license suspension, as opposed to a six-month license suspension for a DWI. You will also be required to satisfactorily complete New York State’s Drinking Driver Program (DDP) as part of your conditional discharge. You are only eligible to complete the DDP once every five years following an arrest for a DWAI or DWI offense. In some cases, you may be granted a conditional license, or a license that will allow you to operate a vehicle for specific reasons, and with certain requirements during the time period of your license suspension.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS MAY I DRIVE WHEN I HAVE A CONDITIONAL LICENSE?
To and from your place of employment
If your employment requires the operation of a motor vehicle then during the hours of which you are working
To and from a class or an activity which is an authorized part of the alcohol and drug rehabilitation program and at which your attendance is required
To and from a class or course at an accredited school, college or university or at a state approved institution of vocational or technical training
To or from court ordered probation activities
To and from a motor vehicle office for the transaction of business relating to such license or program
For a three-hour consecutive daytime period, chosen by the administrators of the program, on a day during which you are not engaged in usual employment or vocation
To and from a medical examination or treatment as part of the necessary medical treatment for you or member of your household, as provided by a written statement from a licensed medical practitioner
To and from a place, including a school, at which your child or children are cared for on a regular basis and which is necessary for you to maintain your employment or enrollment at an accredited school, college or university or at a state approved institution of vocational or technical training.
You may not use a conditional license to drive to or from high school, as high schools are not accredited institutions.

DWI CONVICTION AND TRAVEL TO CANADA

I HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR A DWI OR DUI OFFENSE. CAN I STILL TRAVEL TO CANADA?
If you have been convicted of a DWI or DUI offense in New York or elsewhere in the United States, you may be refused entry into Canada on the grounds of criminal inadmissibility.
It is important to understand how criminal inadmissibility is determined, and what you can do to overcome it if you need to enter Canada. There are a few important questions that you must ask, and may want to discuss with your attorney:
What is the equivalent of the offense in Canada?
Is it considered a conviction for the purposes of travel to Canada? If so, what kind of conviction?
How can I overcome my criminal inadmissibility in order to enter Canada?
IS THERE EQUIVALENCY BETWEEN MY OFFENSE AND THE SUGGESTED OFFENSE IN CANADA?
In order to determine equivalency, the essential elements of your offense and the suggested offense in Canada must be compared. If the same elements are present in both, then there is equivalency.
There must be particular elements of the offense that you have been charged with that fall within the parameters of the Canadian offense. For example, if you have been charged with a DUI or DWI–whether it’s a violation, misdemeanor, or felony–it will be considered an equivalent to a Canadian offense.
Operation While Impaired (Section 253) and Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicles (Section 249) of the Canadian Criminal Code, are the offenses considered to be equivalent to DUI or DWI charges in the United States. Operation While Impaired specifically outlaws operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, while the Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicles is broader, and states, “Every one commits an offense who operates (a) a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public…” These two Canadian statutes provide enough equivalency to prevent you from entering Canada if you have a DUI or DWI conviction on your record in the United States.

PRESSING CRIMINAL CHARGES: WHO MAKES THE CALL?

What power does the victim have?
The victim–or complaining witness–remains a crucial part of the case. Without a cooperative complaining witness, a prosecutor may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed. In some cases, without the complaining witness’s cooperation, a prosecutor cannot even bring the case to trial, since the witness is needed to establish probable cause. While prosecutors can subpoena witnesses to trial, prosecutors typically do this in only the most serious cases, because no lawyer wants to base their case on an uncooperative and unpredictable witness. More often, a complaining witness’s refusal to participate in a prosecution leads to the eventual dismissal of the case.
Although prosecutors control criminal cases, victims can always file a civil suit. Unlike a criminal offense, which is an offense against the State, and only the State can issue or drop a charge; a civil offense is an offense can be against an individual victim. It is generally easier to win a civil suit, as the standard of proof is lower than for a criminal case. In a criminal case, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in a civil case the standard of proof is “preponderance of the evidence,” or about a 51% chance that the defendant committed the acts. The defendant will not go to jail or prison simply because you win the civil case against them, but they will be held liable for the damages incurred.

WHAT IS MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING?

In certain cases, the law requires that mandatory minimum sentencing be applied. In this article, we’ll explore what that means and under what circumstances it might apply to a case. Let’s start with the basic question:
WHAT IS MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING?
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws require judges to deliver sentences of a certain length for offenders convicted of specific types of federal and state crimes. In other words, even if the judge wanted to give you a lighter sentence, they cannot–they are required by law to give you the minimum.
Typically, when you have been convicted of a crime, a sentencing judge will determine a sentence that is proportional to the crime that you have committed. Sentencing guidelines provide suggested sentences for specific crimes, but the judge may also take into consideration any extenuating circumstances surrounding the crime.
In these cases, the judge may look at your criminal history, whether anyone was intentionally injured, your mental state at the time of the crime, and many other factors that cannot be derived from a set of sentencing guidelines. Taking all of these factors into consideration, as well as the suggested sentencing guidelines, the judge will determine a sentence that fits the situation. It may fall within the sentencing guidelines recommendation, or it may be longer or shorter depending on the circumstances involved in your case.

STUDENT LOAN ELIGIBILITY & CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Even a good student can find him or herself on the “wrong” side of the law. When that happens, it doesn’t just affect your record–it affects your eligibility to receive student loans. Let’s explore further:
HOW CAN A CRIMINAL CONVICTION AFFECT MY STUDENT LOAN ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE FEDERAL AID?
A criminal conviction can have a serious impact on your eligibility to receive federal loans and grants to attend college.
If you are convicted and incarcerated:
Simply stated: if you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to a period of incarceration in a Federal or State institution, you become ineligible to receive Federal Pell Grants or Federal Student Loans.
You are still eligible to receive Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS), but your chances of receiving them will be diminished. Why? The government prioritizes the FSEOG to those who also qualify for Federal Pell Grants. Since you cannot receive Pell Grants, you will not be prioritized for FSEOG. Yes, you may still be able to receive one, but your chances–unfortunately–decrease.

A GUIDE TO SEALING CRIMINAL RECORDS IN NEW YORK

If you’ve ever been charged with a crime in New York, one of your primary concerns will be how it affects your record.

What information is accessible to employers and the public? What control do you have over the information included in your records? Can you seal your record to prevent that information from getting into other people’s hands?

Here is our Guide to Sealing Criminal Records:

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CRIMINAL RECORD IF MY CASE IS DISMISSED OR IF I AM ACQUITTED?

In New York State, if you are acquitted or if your case is dismissed, then your records should be sealed. But, what exactly does “sealing criminal records” mean?

This is what the process looks like:

In most criminal cases, according to New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) §160.50, if your case is dismissed, or if your are acquitted of the charges, the clerk of the court is supposed to inform the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the heads of any law enforcement departments or agencies who may have documentation of your case.  It is then the job of those departments and agencies to remove all photographs, palm and fingerprints, records, and documents, including every brief or opinion related to your case, and any copies from their systems.  If any of those documents have been shared with any other departments or agencies outside of New York State, the disseminating agency has to request that they either be destroyed or returned to the department from which they were sent. Once a department or agency receives a report of the acquittal or dismissal, that is sufficient for the sealing of your record.

IF I WAS CONVICTED OF A NONCRIMINAL OFFENSE, CAN I HAVE MY RECORD SEALED?

In most cases, if you are convicted of a noncriminal offense–such as a violation or traffic infraction–and have an otherwise clean record, the record of this violation will be sealed after one year.

While statute CPL  §160.55(1)(c) states that this is the case, there are certain exceptions, including the violation of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), loitering, marijuana violations, or if the DA or judge decide to keep the record open in the “interest of justice,” in which case they must give you notice within five days.