Holding off an Inevitable Suspension
By Ramy Louis, Esq.
If you are sentenced for Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), your driver's license will be either suspended or revoked by the court and you will be required to physically give up your driver's license. A "20 day stay" however, prevents your suspension or revocation from taking effecting affect for 20 days. The court has discretion whether or not to grant it and a good DWI lawyer knows when to request one.
The purpose of a "20 day stay" is to allow a person who is eligible for a conditional license after sentencing to be able to drive during the period to takes the court to mail the paperwork on the case to the DMV. Without a 20 day stay, people who are eligible for a conditional license will be unable to drive for up to about 3 weeks while they wait for the DMV to receive and input in the case information. A 20 day stay benefits almost everyone- the client so that he or she can drive while applying for a conditional license, and the DMV so that they are not bombarded with complaints about how long the conditional license application takes.
It is important to remember that a "20 day stay" does not grant you privileges to drive- it just continues your existing driving privileges for 20 days. Therefore, if you had any preexisting suspensions or revocations on your license, a 20 day stay will do you no good. You must remember not to continue driving after the 20 day stay has expired (unless you have a conditional license) or you may be charged with the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree under Vehicle and Traffic Law § 511 (2).
A good DWI lawyer should be able to advise you whether you are eligible for a conditional license, how to apply for one, and know the rules regarding requesting a "20 day stay."
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