The Drinking Driver Program (DDP) is offered by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It lasts a minimum of seven weeks and consists of at least 16 hours of classes (e.g. one 2-3 hour class per week for seven weeks). The goal of the DDP is to deter any future violations of the DWI laws by educating those who have been convicted of a DWI-related offense.
Those who are enrolled in the DDP should understand that it is separate and distinct from any substance abuse/dependence evaluation and/or treatment that most judges and prosecutors require DWI defendants to complete. Nevertheless, the DDP administrators may require a substance abuse/dependence evaluation and/or successful completion of treatment in order to successfully complete the DDP.
Any participant who is already involved in the substance abuse/dependence evaluation and/or treatment process or who has already completed it by the time he or she has enrolled in the DDP will not be required to do it over again. However, this is provided that a DMV-approved agency conducted the evaluation and/or treatment.
Why take the DDP?
Most people will enroll after a conviction of a DWI-related offense in order to obtain conditional driving privileges during the post-conviction period of driver license/privilege suspension or revocation or because DDP completion is mandated by the judge as a condition of a sentence.
Not everyone who takes the DDP is eligible for conditional driving privileges. However, anyone who is eligible for post-conviction conditional driving privileges must be enrolled in the DDP in order to obtain and keep post-conviction conditional driving privileges.
Who qualifies for DDP enrollment?
Generally, a DDP participant is someone who has been convicted of a DWI-related offense and
has not been convicted of a DWI-related offense within the last five years or
has not previously been enrolled in the DDP within the last five years.
A person is generally not eligible to enroll in the DDP if any of the following situations apply.
1. The person has not been convicted of the DWI-related offense that he or she has been charged with. This means that if the person’s license/privileges are revoked for refusing a chemical BAC test and he or she has won his or her trial in criminal court, that person will nevertheless not be eligible to take the DDP.
2. The person was convicted of a DWI-related offense within the last five years. (However, a judge may nevertheless order the person, as a condition of his or her sentence, to take the DDP in this situation.)
3. The person was enrolled in the DDP within the last five years. (However, a judge may nevertheless order the person, as a condition of his or her sentence, to take the DDP in this situation.)
How does one enroll in the DDP?
Travel to an eligible DMV office and apply in person. Bring an acceptable form of picture identification, together with the application fee.
At sentencing for a DWI-related conviction, the court will hand the convicted person a piece of paper called an Order of Suspension or Revocation and also a two-sided piece of paper with instructions about how to enroll in the DDP. If the court does not hand out the DMV instruction form, an attorney can obtain and provide a copy or the DMV may send one through the mail. In any event, the location of each DMV office at which one can enroll in the DDP is listed on the DMV’s web site or can be determined by calling the DMV: 1-800-CALL-DMV (800-225-5368).
What are the costs of the DDP?
All DDP applicants must pay a non-refundable $75 application fee to the DMV. In addition, all DDP enrollees must pay an enrollment fee directly to the agency conducting the DDP classes (this fee cannot be greater than $225). Payment of the additional enrollment fee is expected at the first class.
Is it possible to fail or be taken out of the DDP?
Yes. Participants can be dropped from the DDP for not paying fees, not attending class, or generally performing unsatisfactorily in the DDP. The DMV will revoke any conditional driving privileges of any person who is dropped from the DDP.
During the course of the DDP, participants will be screened for alcohol and drugs. Any participants who test positive for alcohol or drugs will be referred for a formal substance abuse/dependence evaluation.
Additionally, DDP participants may be referred for a formal alcohol and substance abuse/dependence evaluation as a result of:
1. A written self inventory (which could enable program administrators to determine the need for additional assistance); or
2. Two or more alcohol/drug related convictions in the past 10 years; or
3. An additional DWI-related arrest while enrolled in the DDP; or
4. The participant’s own request for help with alcohol or substance abuse/dependence.
If, as a result of any formal substance abuse/dependence evaluation, a DDP participant is referred for treatment, the participant will be required to complete the prescribed level of treatment in order to successfully complete the DDP. Any DDP participant who fails to comply with and complete any recommended treatment will be dropped from the DDP and any conditional driving privileges will be revoked. The DDP participant is required to pay for the cost of any evaluations and recommended treatment.
After being dropped, no one may re-enter the DDP without written consent from the DDP director. If written consent is obtained, a fee of $50 will be required in order to re-enter.
What happens at the completion of the DDP?
A participant who has completed the DDP will receive a Notice of Completion (i.e. DMV form MV-2026) from the DDP administrator. At that time, the participant may apply for restoration of his or her full non-commercial driver’s license or privileges.
For a license/privilege suspension, the suspension termination fee is $25, payable to the DMV. Once the fee is paid, the suspension will be terminated.
For a license/privilege revocation, the re-application fee is $50, payable to the DMV. In the case of a license/privilege revocation, re-licensing is not automatic, and the DMV has the discretion to deny the application for re-licensure.
In the following circumstances, successful completion of the DDP will not result in early eligibility to apply for full non-commercial driver’s license/privilege restoration.
1. The person was under 21 years old at the time of arrest; or
2. The DWI-related violation occurred while the person was operating a commercial vehicle; or
3. The person refused a chemical BAC test.
Under such circumstances, the person who has successfully completed the DDP must wait out the full minimum period of the suspension or revocation in order to be eligible to receive restoration of his or her full driver’s license/privileges. However, the person may continue to use his or her conditional driving privileges (if any) until his or her suspension has been terminated (i.e. by payment of the $25 termination fee) or his or her license/privilege application has been approved, as applicable.
In the case of a Zero Tolerance Law suspension, the person must pay a $100 suspension termination fee and a $125 civil penalty in order to have the suspension lifted. In the case of a Zero Tolerance Law license/privilege revocation, application may be made to the DMV within 45 days before the minimum revocation period has ended.
Where commercial driving privileges (CDL) have been revoked, the motorist must wait out the minimum CDL revocation period, apply for CDL re-licensure (which generally can be done within 45 days before the minimum CDL revocation period has ended), pay any application fees, and take any required CDL skills tests.
To learn more about New York’s DDP programs, visit the New York State DMV website.