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New York State Drinking Driver Program

by Seth Azria on 2/14/2016

The New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) is part of New York State’s effort to reduce personal and property losses related to DWI offenses. The DDP is an educational program comprised of seven 2-3 hour weekly sessions for 16 hours total.

There are two reasons to participate in the Drinking Driver Program.  First, participation is required by the court as a condition of a plea bargain in a DWI case. Second, participation in the program qualifies the participant for a conditional driving license during the post-conviction period of license suspension or revocation.

You must participate in the DDP if you want a conditional license during the suspension period following your case.

The Conditional License and the Drinking Driver Program

In New York, the period of suspension for a DWAI conviction is 90 days and a DWI conviction carries a least a 6 month revocation. During these periods,  a conditional license, also called a “conditional driving privilege”, allows a person to drive:

  • to and from employment
  • during the hours of employment if such employment requires driving*
  • to and from a class or activity required as a part of drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  • to and from school
  • to and from court ordered probation activities
  • to and from the DMV
  • to and from medical care
  • to and from your child’s care provider

The conditional license is different from the a hardship privilege that allows a person, upon a finding of  “extreme hardship”, to drive to and from work, school, and medical care while the DWI case is pending.  

*A conditional license is not valid for driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver license.

Eligibility for the Drinking Driver Program

Subject to the consent of the DMV, you may participate in the DDP if you have not had a DWI/DWAI conviction in the previous 5 years. The five years is measured from the date the DDP is completed to the date of the new DWI charge. 

Possibility of Additional Treatment

Every DDP participant is screened to determine if a drug or alcohol problem exists.  Problem drinkers are referred for additional treatment and and failure to adequately complete such treatment will result in a revocation of the conditional license and reinstatement of the original suspension or revocation. 

The law allows a person to be held for treatment for up to 8 months and the period may be extended upon the recommendation of the Department of Mental Hygiene or appropriate health official.

Drinking Driver Program: Procedure

Unlike a hardship privilege, a conditional license is granted by the DMV and not by the court. Often, upon entry of a plea in a case, your attorney will request a 20-day stay of the driving license suspension.  Essentially, the 20-day stay means that the suspension will not take effect for 20 days and will give you a chance to secure a conditional license from the DMV.   

The “Order of Suspension or Revocation” sent to you from the DMV will indicate the DMV office where you may enroll in the DDP.  To enroll you must bring identification and pay the fee.  To maintain the conditional license, you must complete all required classes and additional counseling. The DMV will notify the court if a driver required to participate  does not enroll or has been dropped from the DDP.  The court may call that driver in for re-sentencing.

Drinking Driver Program: Fees

$75- Program Fee payable to the DMV when you enroll in the DDP.

$225- Maximum amount payable to the agency that conducts the DDP classes.

Additional fees may be due if a driver is referred for formal evaluation and treatment during the DDP. 

Download the New York DMV Drinking Driver Program Brochure [PDF]


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