Over the past two years, New York State has made some of the most extreme and significant changes to the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) regulations. In 2010, the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) implemented the interlock requirement, which restricted anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor DWI from operating any vehicle without an interlock Breathalyzer device for at least six months.
More recently, in September 2012, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new regulations that call for a lifetime review of a motorist's driving background upon reapplication once the license has been revoked; this regulation is applicable to those convicted of multiple DWI's over the course of their driving histories. A license may be revoked for several reasons; the most common reasons include acquiring three or more speeding tickets in an 18-month period, operating without insurance, and a misdemeanor or felony conviction of DWI. Revocation of a license requires the motorist to re-apply to the DMV for a new license upon the expiration of the revocation period.
Now, a motorist will face permanent revocation of his or her driving license in one of the two following situations: 1) If a motorist has five or more alcohol or drug related driving convictions in his or her lifetime; or 2) If the motorist has three or more alcohol or drug related driving convictions in the last 25 years plus at least one other serious driving offense during that period. Previously drivers only faced permanent revocation of a license if he or she had two convictions for drinking-related accidents that caused injury or death. Permanent revocation of a New York license will also creates an increased difficulty in obtaining a license in other states, as the National Driver's Registry allows states Department of Motor Vehicles to share records with one another.
For motorists who have three or four alcohol or drug-related offenses in the last 25 years, the DMV must deny a reapplication for license for five years beyond the statutory revocation period for a drug offense, two years for an alcohol-related offense. Once the additional revocation period has ended, the license will only be restored to "restricted" status, which restricts the motorist to travel to and from work, school, and medical visits only. Also, for motorists whose revocations resulted from alcohol-related offenses, the DMV requires an interlock device in any vehicle the motorists operates for a period of five years.
While DWI is a very serious offense, these new regulations include a wide range of people that may have maintained clean record for many years. Small mistakes made during a motorists’ late teens and twenties may resurface to deny mature motorists reinstatement, which could create serious issues for many drivers. It is not only a driver’s license but also his or her right to freely drive to any destination. For more information or for a free consultation regarding DWI offenses, please contact Lorenzo Napolitano at (585) 325-4445 or Lorenzo@napolitanolaw.com.