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Must DWI offenders in New York attend an alcohol rehab program?

When drivers in New York are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, those drivers might seek ways to reduce or limit the consequences this stop could cause. Even if the accused is convicted of a drunk driving offense, there are ways the individual could apply defense options to reduce the severity of the penalties commonly applied to a DWI offense. In some cases, this could mean attending a specialized alcohol program.

Must DWI offenders in New York attend an alcohol rehabilitation program? According to section 1196 of title 7, article 31 of New York law, those accused of a DWI have the option to attend an alcohol rehabilitation program for driving while intoxicated. This program is optional and is not mandatory.

Additionally, if an offender decides to engage in such a program, the commissioner has the discretion to determine the instructional and rehabilitative aspects of the program, but state law regulates these. If a driver decides to attend the program, it shall consist of at least 15 hours and will include classroom instruction deemed most suitable by the commissioner.

This program does not eliminate the fines associated with the offense if the driver is found guilty of a DWI. However, this could serve as a means to reduce other penalties, such as imprisonment. In most cases, this program is used for purposes of terminating the suspension or revocation of the individual's driver's license, thereby reducing the originating penalties of the offense.

When determining the options of enrolling in such a program, offenders should consider any and all defense options with regards to the drunk driving offense. Depending on the situation, this could be an ideal route to reduce or limit the consequences of a conviction.

Source: Public.legalinfo.state.ny.us, "ยง 1196. Alcohol and drug rehabilitation program," accessed Aug. 17, 2015

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