Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

What Happens Immediately After a DWI Arrest in Queens, NY?

In Queens County, the first thing that will happen, after you are placed under arrest, is the officer will take you to the 112th precinct, which is in Forest Hills, Queens. That’s where all of the IDTU (Intoxicated Driver Testing Unit) testing is done, so the officer will transport you as quickly as possible to the 112th precinct. At that point, there will be other officers there tasked with administering the breathalyzer test, which you will be asked to take.

The officer will also inform you that if you refuse to take the test, your license will be revoked. He is required to say that to you. Most people would and should take the breathalyzer test. Assuming that you take the breathalyzer test, there will be a reading, and the officer will also ask you to do various coordination tests, will ask you various questions and perhaps ask for a writing sample, which all takes quite a while. Once you are done with that, even if your breathalyzer test comes in low, he is not going to release you at that point, but assuming that the test showed you had sufficient alcohol to constitute a DWI, he is then going to take you over to Queens Central Booking, where all defendants go prior to seeing a judge.

Eventually, usually between 12 and 24 hours after that, you are going to go in front of a judge for the first time for what’s called an arraignment. At that time, the judge will listen to the district attorney and your attorney, if you have one. The first question is whether or not you should be released without bail or whether bail should be posted. A good lawyer, certainly for a first arrest, will almost always get the judge to release you without bail, assuming that you have reasonable ties to the community. You’ll also be advised as to what the charges against you are, and, if you have taken the test and the reading is above 0.08, the judge, by law, must suspend your license. If you refused to take the test, the judge will also suspend your license and will direct you to a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Bureau to determine whether your license should be revoked at that point.

In other words, if you did not take the breathalyzer test, it becomes an issue that’s dealt with at the Motor Vehicle Bureau. In all cases, you’ll be given a date to come back to Criminal Court, and at that point, you and your lawyer will start working on how to present the very best defense you can.

What Can Someone Do if Their Driver’s License Is Physically Confiscated at the Time of Arrest?

The officer may take your license, but the officer doesn’t have any right to suspend it. That’s the court’s job. Again, if you’ve gone over 0.08 on the breathalyzer test, the court will suspend your license pending disposition of the case or, if you refused to take the test, to court will temporarily suspend your license and you will be referred to the Motor Vehicle Bureau for a hearing, which has to take place within 15 days. The only thing that can possibly be done in criminal court to get your driving rights back then and there is something that very rarely happens, the granting of a hardship license.

The rules are very strict for this. The application must be made within three days of your arraignment, and you have to establish, through testimony and documentation, the reasons why you need a hardship license while the case is pending. A hardship license enables you to do certain things, like take your grandmother for dialysis every three days or if you must have it for work. Most lawyers don’t even know about it, so it requires being fully prepared, when you go into court, because if three days elapse, you are not even allowed to ask for it. Most judges are reluctant to grant a hardship license. But that is the only way, under the circumstances discussed, that you can start driving immediately.

How Long Does Someone Have To Request A DMV Hearing In New York?

The only time that there is a DMV hearing is if you’ve refused to take the breathalyzer; otherwise, it’s the court that’s taking your license. The DMV only takes your license if you refused to take the breathalyzer test. It’s a separate proceeding. When you first go in front of the judge, they’re going to take your license, and they are going to give you a piece of paper that says that you have to go to a motor vehicle hearing on a certain date, and it’s the Motor Vehicle Bureau that will determine at this point whether your license should be revoked because of the refusal.

This is a separate proceeding that does not involve the criminal court. There is referral to the Motor Vehicle Bureau solely for the purpose of determining whether your license should be revoked because you failed to take the breathalyzer test. So you do not contact them; that’s all done for you at the time of the arraignment, and you’ll be given a specific appointment.

For more information on Aftermath Of DWI Arrest, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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