Plea bargains for first-offense DWI cases will typically include a conditional discharge, one of the conditions being the defendant’s participation in the New York State Drinking Driver Program (DDP).
The DDP consists of a set of classes, totaling a minimum of 15 hours, which are meant to deter the defendant from committing future violations by educating them about the risks and consequences of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
New York State Drinking Driver Program Eligibility
Once a person has participated in DDP, they will not be eligible to participate again for a period of five years following the completion of the DDP. If you have a prior conviction for a violation of VTL S 1192 within five years immediately preceding the commission of a new alcohol or drug-related offense, you will be ineligible for the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), whether you participated in DDP for the prior conviction or not. You cannot “bank” your eligibility for the DDP for potential future convictions. If you have completed the DDP following a conviction, but the conviction is then overturned or vacated, you are eligible to participate in the DDP again within the five year time period. If your conviction is vacated, you will be returned to pre-participation status as far as the DDP is concerned.
Additional Treatments & Requirements
In addition to completing the DDP, you may also be referred to complete additional drug or alcohol abuse treatment. When you are first screened during your participation in the DDP, you may be identified as being high risk for future abuse, and recommended for further treatment. Unsatisfactory completion of any recommended additional treatment will result in the termination of any conditional license, and the reinstatement of the original license suspension resulting from your conviction. Your attorney should inform you about the possibility of being recommended for additional treatment, and the consequences associated with unsatisfactory participation in your recommended treatment. If you fail to complete your recommended program, you may be taken back to court for violating your conditional discharge.
If you have participated in the DDP, but are arrested again within five years for a DWI or DWAI offense, the DMV will impose additional requirements in order for you to have your license reinstated once the period of suspension has expired. Although you will not be eligible to participate in the DDP, you will be required to participate in a DMV approved alcohol or drug treatment program before your license may be reinstated.Once you have successfully completed the DDP, you may apply to the Commissioner for the termination of the suspension of your driver’s license. If your suspension was due to a refusal to submit to a chemical test, however, you will not be eligible for the restoration of full driving privileges until the suspension period has elapsed. If you have a conditional license following a chemical test refusal, you will be allowed to drive under the conditional license.
Second-time offenders will be recommended to enroll in the DDP if eligible, and if not eligible, you must submit documentation of alcohol evaluation and/or rehabilitation in order to be relicensed once the mandatory suspension period is finished. Third-time offenders are allowed to participate in the DDP if they are eligible, but they cannot be granted a conditional license. If they are not eligible for the DDP, a minimum 18-month suspension period and proof of alcohol rehabilitation is required in order to be relicensed. If you have four or more convictions then you will not be eligible for the DDP. A fourth offense will result in a minimum of a 24-month suspension period, and any further offenses will result in at least a minimum 30-month suspension period.
Re-Entry Into the Drinking Driver Program
If you leave the DDP, you may apply for reentry. In order to gain reentry into the program, you must obtain a letter from the DDP stating that the director of the program is willing to take the person back into the program. This letter will be presented to the district office enforcement section. The enforcement section may:
- Terminate the conditional license suspension order which is issued as a result of dropping out of the DDP
- Record the licensee’s name and that this is a reentry on the program roster
- Instruct the licensee to contact the DDP director to complete program reentry
- Call Driver Improvement to have the eligibility date reset
- If the full license was restored prior to the drop out, i.e. based on a DWAI conviction, the license will be reentered in conditional license status. A conditional license may be issued only upon the first reentry. Although second and subsequent reentries may be permitted, a conditional license will not be reissued.
Upon successful completion of the DDP, you will be issued a form that you will use to apply for the issuance of an unconditional license. You must also present along with this form proof of identity, date of birth, and a photo license fee.