Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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An overview of conditional licenses in the state of New York

There are a number of reasons for which people in New York may have their driving privileges suspended. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the reasons for a driver’s license suspension may include convictions of drug or alcohol-related driving offenses. During their suspension periods, people may struggle to get to and from work and maintain their employment. In some situations, those who have had their licenses suspended may be eligible for a conditional license.

Conditional licenses are a type of special license. Generally, they partially restore the driving privileges of those who have had their licenses suspended due to drug or alcohol-related driving charges. With few exceptions, eligibility for these licenses is contingent upon participation in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ drinking driver program. Under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, a conditional license does not permit those with a suspended license to drive vehicles that require commercial licenses.

While conditional licenses allow people with suspended licenses to legally get back on the roads, there are strict limitations. Those who have been issued a conditional license cannot drive wherever and whenever they choose. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles website, the circumstances under which people may drive with conditional licenses include the following:

  •        To travel to or from their place of employment
  •        To attend classes at accredited colleges, universities, schools and other state-approved training programs
  •        For the purpose of their job during employment hours, if they are required to drive a vehicle for their work
  •        To transport a child to and from his or her school or day care
  •        To travel to and from medical appointments, which are medically necessary for the driver or a member of their household
  •        To travel to and from classes and activities associated with the drinking driver program

A violation of any of these limitations may result in the conditional license being revoked.

Understanding the process for obtaining and maintaining a conditional license can be complicated in some cases. Therefore, those who have had their driver’s licenses suspended and are seeking a conditional license may benefit from obtaining legal representation.

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