New York’s Impaired Driver Program, which was once called the Drinking Driver Program, gives individuals who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated to regain their driver’s licenses or reduce the amount of time that their driving privileges are suspended. Most participants choose to enter the program voluntarily, but some offenders are ordered to participate by the judge who sentences them. Individuals who have completed the program or have two or more drunk driving convictions in the last five years may be ordered to participate, but completion will not restore their driving privileges.
Before the Impaired Driver Program begins, participants undergo screening designed to identify factors that would make them more likely to develop substance abuse problems. Participants who are deemed to be at high risk are required to contact a treatment provider approved by the New York Office of Addiction Services and Supports for a clinical evaluation. The program consists of seven weekly sessions held in a classroom environment that last for between two and three hours. The total length of the program is about 16 hours. During the classes, participants are told about the dangers of alcohol consumption and drug use and learn about ways to avoid or change destructive behavior.
Individuals who wish to participate in the IDP must first pay a $75 fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This fee is nonrefundable. There is an additional enrollment fee as well. Individuals who meet the program requirement are given a Notice of Completion after the last session. Failing to attend the sessions or pay the fee can lead to an individual losing their conditional driver’s license and being dropped from the program.
Drunk driving defenses
Motorists arrested for DWI are not required to participate in the IDP if the charges against them are dropped or dismissed. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could argue that drunk driving charges should be dismissed if police officers initiated a traffic stop without probable cause or conducted toxicology tests using defective equipment.