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New York DWI Prompt
Suspension Law and the Pringle Hearing
suspension law applies to a defendant who is charged with DWI and
produced a breath test of .08% or above. The prompt suspension law is
codified in New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1193(2)(e).
There are other circumstances in which the law applies (such as a prior
DWI conviction) but this discussion is limited to cases where the BAC
is .08% or greater.
Before a judge can suspend your license pursuant to this section he or
she must make two findings on the record. The first is that the
paperwork conforms to the requirements of the criminal procedure law.
Obviously, this finding requires technical scrutiny and an experienced
DWI lawyer will sometimes discover problems in this area. The second
finding is that there is reasonable cause to believe the defendant's
BAC was in excess of .08%. This is accomplished by reference to the
paperwork with regard to the chemical test. Again, thorough scrutiny of
the documents can reveal problems in this area as well.
What is important to understand is that a DWI defendant subject to
prompt license suspension has the right to demand a hearing and offer
evidence rebutting the findings of the court. The hearing is known as a
Pringle Hearing. If you
are contesting the charge, or you can't resolve the case at your first
court appearance, it is essential that your attorney demand a Pringle
Regardless of whether a defendant wins or loses a Pringle Hearing, it
is important to understand that the prompt suspension of your license
can be avoided if your attorney knows what to do. At the conclusion of
the hearing, the defendant can make a motion for what is known as a
"hardship privilege" to drive. The court in most cases can be convinced
that without a license, the defendant will suffer extreme hardship.
However, this limited privilege to drive does not come just by the
asking. The defendant must be ready with proof (other than the
defendant's word) that losing his or her license would be devastating.
After thirty days from the arraignment of a DWI defendant, (the
arriagnment is complete at the end of the Pringle Hearing) he or she
can obtain what is known as a "Pre-Conviction
Conditional License" or a
"pickle" (as some lawyers refer to it). The pickle is a conditional
license that exists until the case is resolved and restores
limited driving privileges beyond the "hardship privilege".
Winning a Pringle hearing is very difficult and rare. But in cases
where a defendant is contesting the charges, a Pringle hearing can give
the attorney some insight in to the strength of a case. I subpoena the
officers involved in the arrest of my clients and cross-examine them
under oath at Pringle Hearings. Most judges restrict the "scope" of the
cross-examination to narrow issues, but it still gives the defense an
opportunity to get valuable information at the outset of a case.
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Law Office of Christian de Francqueville PLLC 58 Kent Street, Ballston
Spa, New York 12020 FAX: 1-518-885-2641