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Understanding the effects of new policy for repeat DWI offenders in NY

New Department of Motor Vehicle regulations, which were announced in 2012, allow permanent license revocation for repeat offenders.
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    December 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Drunk driving is, without a doubt, an issue that needs to be further addressed in many places, including New York City. New regulations that went into full effect earlier this year to increase the penalties for repeat DWI offenders in New York seek to do exactly that. It is important for people in New York to understand the structure and implications of this new policy, which is much more stringent than the previous one.

License loss can be permanent

According to a press release posted on the website of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the new Department of Motor Vehicle regulations, which were announced in 2012, allow permanent license revocation for repeat offenders. Previously, drivers with multiple drug or alcohol related driving offenses could reapply for licensing, unless they had been involved in two drug or alcohol related crashes in which someone was injured.

The same press release reports that there are several changes to the reinstatement process under the new policy, including:
- Mandatory license suspension periods cannot be reduced.
- The DMV can conduct a lifetime review when deciding whether to reinstate a license.
- People with over 5 alcohol or drug related convictions will lose their licenses permanently.
- People who have had 3 or more convictions and a serious driving offense in the last 25 years will lose their licenses permanently.
- People with 3 or more convictions and no serious driving offenses in the last 25 years may be subject to delayed relicensing or a restricted license.

Officials hope that these changes will protect motorists from drivers who have shown a pattern of irresponsible behavior. According to the press release, the regulations are among the toughest policies in the nation.

Given the statistics on alcohol-related driving fatalities in New York, the push for stronger policies is understandable. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of alcohol-related crashes that led to injury and were caused by third-time offenders increased from 22 to 28 percent. In 2010, alcohol contributed to more than a quarter of fatal crashes in New York.

Although the intention behind the changes makes sense, critics and repeat offenders have already questioned the way that the regulations were passed and applied.

Criticisms of new policy

An article in New York's Daily Gazette reports that some repeat offenders have already filed lawsuits. Some criticisms of the new regulations are that:
- They were applied retroactively.
- They were passed administratively rather than legislatively.
- They are at odds with current traffic laws.

Some DWI offenders have also contended that they applied for relicensing last year, before the regulations were enacted, only to see the process dragged out until the new regulations became effective. It remains to be seen if any of these lawsuits will be successful. However, a successful outcome likely will not affect motorists who commit a repeat offense now, more than a year after the regulations were first announced.

If you have been arrested for DWI in New York, you should speak with an attorney immediately. Whether it is your first arrest or you have had similar traffic offenses in the past, the penalties for a conviction can be harsh, so it is crucial to find an expert to present your case.

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