If you were arrested in New York City, you will arraigned within approximately 24 hours of your arrest. In Westchester and Long Island, you will most likely be given a summons to return to court within 30 days. You should try to retain an attorney by then. The arraignment is primarily to advise you of your rights and enter a plea of not guilty.
At your arraignment, if you have no prior warrant record and strong ties to the community you may be released without bail. It is important to not resolve a case at arraignment because you may not be fully aware of the impacts of a guilty plea until you have spoken at length with an attorney. For example, if you need to travel to Canada or even rent a car, you may have problems for several years after pleading guilty. You may also experience various employment problems.
Your license will be suspended at arraignment if you submitted to a chemical test of your blood and blew .08 or more. If, prior to your suspension pending prosecution, you had a valid driver’s license and you did not have a prior conviction for Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired, or complete the Drinking Driver Program within the proceeding five years, you may be eligible for a conditional license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles thirty days after your arrest if you did not refuse a breath test. The conditional license will allow you to drive for the purposes of work, education and health for you and your family, and three daylight hours per week. In certain limited circumstances, you can qualify for a hardship license from the court to allow you to commute back and forth from work prior to getting a conditional license 30 days after your arrest.
If you refused to submit to a chemical test you license will be suspended at arraignment and you need to attend a refusal hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which will take place within 15 days.
If you are convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired, Aggravated Driving While Ability Impaired, or Driving While Intoxicated, any suspension or revocation ordered by the court begins immediately. The court may issue a 20-day stay of the suspension to allow you to make arrangements for transportation and to apply for a conditional license if you are eligible. You are not credited with any license suspension time from arraignment to when you are convicted.
You are required by law to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. You did not submit to or complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do so at the direction of a police officer.
Since you refused to take a breath test, you must attend your revocation hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to preserve your right to drive. A hearing must be initially scheduled within 15 days. This hearing is extremely important because crucial defenses can be developed at it.
If you lose at the refusal hearing, you cannot drive until you qualify for a conditional license until you have been convicted of a drinking driving related charge. If you are acquitted at trial but refused to take a test, you will not be eligible for any driving privileged for one year.
If, after your refusal hearing, the Department of Motor Vehicles finds that you refused to submit a chemical test, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year. If you are a commercial driver, your license will be revoked for 18 months.
These penalties, which are imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, are separate from any penalties that can be imposed as the outcome of your criminal case.