The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented administrative changes to restoring licenses to individuals with multiple alcohol/drug related convictions.
Applicants with two or more alcohol/drug related convictions within the past 25 years will no longer be eligible to have their license restored upon completion of the Drinking Driver Program (DDP) but will be required to serve the entire term of suspension or revocation. In the past, a motorist was able to have their license restored after completion of the DDP (possibly seven weeks) even if their period of suspension or revocation could be as long as a year or more.
Applicants with three or four alcohol/drug related convictions or incidents within the past 25 years, without a Serious Driving Offense (SDO) and whose revocation does NOT result from an alcohol or drug related driving conviction or incident, will be denied re-licensing for two years in addition to the mandatory statutory revocation period and then will be re-licensed with a Problem Driver Restriction for two years.
An SDO defined as a fatal accident, driving related Penal Law conviction for two or more violations for which 5 or more points are assessed, or 20 or more points for any violations in 25 years.
Applicants with three or four alcohol/drug related convictions or incidents within 25 years without a SDO, and whose revocation DOES result from an alcohol/drug driving conviction or incident, will be denied re-licensing for five years in addition to the statutory revocation period, and then will be re-licensed with a problem driver restriction for five years with an ignition interlock device (IID).
Applicants with three or four alcohol/drug driving related convictions or incidents within the past 25 years, with a serious driving offense, will be permanently denied re-licensing, subject to compelling extenuating circumstances.
Applicants with five or more alcohol/drugged related conviction or incidents in their lifetime will be denied re-licensing subject to compelling extenuating circumstances. Remember DMV goes back 25 years while most record checks only go back 10 years.
It is difficult to generate sympathy either administrative, legislative, judicial or prosecutorial for people with multiple drinking/drug driving offenses. It is imperative that driver have the services of an attorney with extensive background in this type of defense so the motorist can make informed decisions on how to proceed.
In New York State improper cell phone use and texting while driving now carries five DMV points. This is an increase of two points, and applies to violations occurring on or after June 1, 2013.
Figures released by the National Safety Council shows that in 2011, over 3,300 people were killed, and crash risk increased 23 times due to distraction while driving. Distracted driving occurs when drivers use portable electronic devices such as cell phones to talk, text or send e-mail messages. If you were to sit at a traffic light for a short period you could count an alarming number of motorists who intentionally violate the cell phone/texting law.
What does this mean to you? The New York State Motor Vehicle point assessment chart shows that improper cell phone use and texting while driving carries the same five points as reckless driving, and passing a stopped school bus. In comparison, speeding 21-30 miles over the posted limit is six points. These are all classified as serious driving offenses by the DMV. The emphasis on a point assessment increase could be interpreted as a reassessment of the seriousness of these violations. You will definitely receive special attention from insurance carriers, who may use a motorist's driving record to establish their premiums.
Legislation imposes prompt and strict action against the license or learner permits of young or new drivers. The law provides for a 60-day suspension for a first offense conviction, and in the case of a second offense within six months would result in the revocation of a probationary license for six months and a learner permit for at least 60 days. This is in addition to the fine and the five-point assessment.
The new law carries new minimum fines and increased maximum fines. For example, the minimum fine for a first offense is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $150. For a second offense within 18 months, the minimum is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $200. The third offense within 18 months imposes a minimum fine of $50, and a maximum fine of $400. You should know that when a person accumulates six points in eighteen months, the New York DMV assesses a driver improvement assessment of $100 per year for three years, plus an additional $25 per point for every point over six.
The motorist who receives a ticket for texting while driving can expect little prosecutorial or judicial sympathy. Prosecutors will be more reluctant to recommend a plea bargain for a cell phone or texting violation, and judges will be less willing to approve a plea bargain request for such violations in light of the increased point assessment. I recently was in court when a motorist complained that the fine for a cell phone violation was set higher than moving violations. The judge commented that, "Unlike some violations which are sometimes inadvertent, when you picked up that cell phone, you knew exactly what you were doing."
My twenty year background as a New York State Trooper has given me a unique insight and understanding of the vehicle and traffic law. As a traffic ticket defense attorney who has been successfully defending motorists in upstate New York since 1987, I am very familiar with all the local courts and their prosecutors. Protocol can vary greatly from county to county and court to court. I know who to talk to, and what to say. I can assist you in minimizing the consequences for cell phone violations, including texting while driving. Call me for a free assessment of your case. My experience is your best defense.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles maintains a Driver Violation Point System that helps them identify drivers who commit multiple traffic violations during a specific period of time.
Remember these critical numbers - 11 and 18
If you receive 11 or more points within 18 months, the DMV will suspend your driver license. You should also be aware that the DMV must revoke your license if you are convicted of 3 speeding violations within an 18-month period even if you have fewer than 11 points.
The following table (which is available on the NYS DMV website) lists the number of points assessed for various violations:
My experience is your best defense.
It is wise to retain the services of an aggressive traffic attorney who will effectively appear for you in court as may be required. In most cases a lawyer can significantly reduce the points the DMV assesses for a traffic violation. Don't risk losing your license.
When you receive a traffic ticket, in most cases, you can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty in person or by mail. The mail option is only available for offenses of the traffic law classified as traffic infractions.
Mailing your plea is not an option for more serious offenses which could be classified as misdemeanors. Some examples of traffic misdemeanors are driving while intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving, or driving with a suspended license. A personal appearance requires you to adjust your work or personal schedule to accommodate the court schedule.
A plea of guilty concludes the matter, except for the DMV's assessment of points and a fine assessed by the court. More importantly, a plea of guilty, or a finding of guilty after trial, might result in a suspension of your drivers license and increased insurance premiums. If your job requires a clean license, you could risk losing your job.
Retain an attorney. An experienced attorney can usually make any required court appearances for you, negotiate with the prosecutor and the court, achieve a reduction in DMV points, and eliminate adverse license and insurance consequences.
Conviction for a traffic ticket can result in a fine, surcharge, driving points, license suspension, and even a jail sentence. You may see increased insurance premiums, or a monetary driver improvement assessment. A traffic ticket can result in the loss of a job, and loss of time to appear in court.
Fines: Depending on the charge, the fine can be in the hundreds of dollars.
Surcharge: In addition to the fine, the assessment can be $85; $55 for equipment violations.
Points: Moving violations can add as many as 11 points to your license.
License Suspension: DMV regulations require a license suspension if a motorist accumulates more than 11 points in an 18 month period.
Increased Insurance Premiums: Many insurance carriers will add a surcharge to premiums for conviction of a moving violation.
Monetary Driver Improvement Assessment: DMV regulations assess a fee of $100 a year for 6 points within 18 months, plus an additional $25 a year for each point over 6 points.
Possible Jail Sentence: Although rarely imposed, many violations carry a possible sentence in the county jail.
Possible Effect on Employment: Many employers require that an applicant have a clean driving record, or make it a condition for keeping a job.
Criminal Record: Some charges, such as reckless driving and driving with a suspended license, are actually classified as a misdemeanor or a felony which are criminal convictions.
Court Appearances: Although in many cases, a plea of not guilty can be entered by mail, eventually the motorist will be required to take time off from work or other activities to appear in court.
I am an experienced traffic attorney who will work with the court and prosecutor to minimize the adverse effects of your traffic ticket. In most cases, I can eliminate the need for you to personally appear in court.
Call for a free case evaluation. Remember, it is NEVER just a traffic ticket.
Okay, you've been convicted of an alcohol related motor vehicle violation. What happens next?
Your License: Your New York license, or if you're an out-of-state motorist your privilege to drive in New York State, will be suspended or revoked for anywhere from ninety days to one year, depending on the actual charge.
Fine: You will be expected to pay a surcharge, and a fine ranging from $300 to $1,500.
Jail: Incarceration can be from fifteen days to one year. State prison sentences are authorized in the case of a felony conviction.
DMV Assessment: A Driver Improvement Assessment of $750 payable to the DMV can be paid in a lump sum or in three $250 annual payments.
Following an alcohol related conviction you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device, take a Defensive Driver Program, get alcohol counseling, and attend a Victim Impact Panel.
A person facing a DWI/DWAI conviction would be wise to retain the services of an attorney knowledgeable in DWI defense to guide them through the legal minefield.
Okay, you did it. You were stopped for DWI and refused to take a breath or blood chemical test to determine your blood/alcohol content. What happens next?
At your arraignment, the judge will immediately suspend your driver license, pending a hearing before a Department of Motor Vehicle Administrative Law Judge. The hearing must take place within 15 days after the arraignment/suspension.
At the hearing the Administrative Law Judge will determine if the temporary suspension should be altered to a revocation for one year. This revocation will continue even if you are subsequently acquitted of the underlying DWI charge.
It is important that the decision to take or not to take the chemical test should not be made without considering the consequences of your decision. Your next course of action should be to contact an attorney who is experienced with New York DWI laws.
PERSISTENT DWI VIOLATIONS - DMV POLICY CHANGES
The Department of Motor Vehicles announced administrative changes, effective 9/25/2012, regarding how to handle applications for re-licensing persistent DWI offenders.
In prior years, the DMV would search back ten years and review the driving records of motorists who have made an application to be re-licensed after a DWI conviction.
The new DMV policy is to review a motorist's lifetime driving record. It is unclear how they will review the past record of motorists who have resided in several different states or countries. An application for re-licensing will be denied if the record shows five or more alcohol/drug driving convictions. A person who fits in that category will be denied a license for life.
Any person who has their license suspended or revoked for a specific period (ninety days, six months, or one year, for example) will no longer be able to get a new license immediately after completing the Drinking Driver Program (DDP). They will be required to serve the entire revocation period.
Permanently losing your license will impact your entire future. An experienced attorney familiar with current DWI legislation should be contacted before the motorist has to deal with these administrative changes.
New York State's Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL 1193-1(b)) requires that everyone convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) either as a misdemeanor or felony under Section 1192(2) (2a) (3) must, among other penalties, install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for at least six months in any vehicle they own or operate.
The IID must be installed within 10 days of sentencing. The convicted motorist is also required to surrender their New York drivers license to the court at sentencing. Courts generally grant what is called a "20-day order" which extends the motorist's driving privilege for 20 additional days to permit them the opportunity to enroll in the Drinking Driver Program and qualify for a "conditional license".
In interpreting the provision for installing the IID within 10 days of sentencing to the issuance of a "20-day order" would seem to provide that the convicted motorist would have 20 days of extended full driving privileges and the first 10 days would be free from the IID requirement. This is not the case.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, even though the motorist has 10 days to install the IID, they CAN NOT operate a motor vehicle without the IID within the first 10 day period.
The defense attorney must advise their client to have the IID installed BEFORE sentencing so they can legally drive themselves away from court.
To avoid further legal complications, an experienced attorney familiar with current DWI legislation should be contacted before the motorist has to appear in court.
New York State's "Move Over Law" has changed.
On all roads and highways, the motorist must use extreme caution when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the roadway. Drivers must reduce their speed, and on highways with multiple lanes, drivers must move from the lane adjacent to the emergency or hazard vehicle, unless conditions prevent doing so safely.
Effective January 1, 2012, the law which required drivers to shift lanes when approaching emergency vehicles with flashing red and white lights, will now include hazard vehicles, including tow trucks, roadside assistance vehicles, highway crews, and other emergency vehicles with amber lights.
Penalties for this traffic violation of 1144-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law are fines up to $275 and 2 points on your driver's license.
Upon a conviction in New York for a criminal DWI charge (Misdemeanor or Felony), attorneys and their clients have become accustomed to having the court grant what has become known as a "twenty day order". This gives the convicted motorist a twenty day extension of their driving privilege before the license revocation begins.
This means the motorist could continue operating a motor vehicle for an additional twenty days to give them time to enroll in the New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) and qualify for a conditional license.
Additionally, with the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement, the
motorist is given ten days to have the IID installed.
The result of these two "extensions" working together is that the convicted motorist has been granted a twenty day grace period to enroll in the DDP......... the first ten without having the IID installed.
THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE
THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE
The position of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles has changed. The motorist is still eligible for the "twenty day order", however, they will be required to have the IID installed IMMEDIATELY while taking advantage of the grace period. Effectively the motorist can not drive home from the court after sentencing without having the IID installed. They will still have unrestricted driving privileges during the grace period as long as the IID is installed on any vehicle they own or operate.
Attorneys should consider advising their clients who they believe will be entering a plea of guilty to a criminal DWI violation, to have the IID installed BEFORE being sentenced.
As a condition of sentence, the motorist convicted of drunk driving crimes in New York State (felony or misdemeanor) must be ordered to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in all vehicles they own or operate.
This condition will be in effect for at least six months, and can, at the discretion of the sentencing court, be for the term of a conditional discharge which is one year, or term of probation which is three years for a misdemeanor or five years for a felony.
The Ignition Interlock Device provision is in addition to any other term of probation or conditional discharge. These additional provisions include, but are not limited to, license revocation, fine, jail term as specified in the following Penalties for Alcohol or Drug-related Violations New York State Department of Motor Vehicles chart.
New York State was the first state to pass cell phone legislation in 2001. The law made it a traffic infraction for a motorist to drive a motor vehicle while using a hand held cell phone.
Conscientious motorists adapted to this legislation by using hands free connections such as bluetooth devices. Still, others would take the risk of a violation, knowing the only potential penalty was a fine. Indeed, if you parked along any busy traffic light intersection in the capital district, you would see an alarming number of intentional cell phone violations.
At the time, the motorist convicted of using a hand held cell phone would be liable to pay a fine of up to $100.00. The violation carried no points on the motorist's license.
This is no longer the case. Recent legislation has amended the law to assess two points on the motorist's driving record for each cell phone conviction for a violation committed on or after February 16, 2011.
I believe a driver will think twice before violating a law which could result in the loss of driving privileges. An experienced traffic lawyer can keep you from losing your license.
Who installs and Maintains the Ignition Interlock Device?
New York State requires the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in vehicles owned and/or operated by a person convicted of DWI. An experienced DWI attorney should be contacted immediately when a person is arrested for DWI.
Installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock Device can be a condition of probation (five years for a felony or three years for a misdemeanor) or a conditional discharge (one year). The minimum requirement must be for a period of at least six months.
The cost of installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock Device will be the responsibility of the defendant, unless the Court determines the defendant is "financially unable" to install the Ignition Interlock Device. This is a different standard than the indigence standard for assigned counsel.
The required form to be completed by the defendant is a five page New York State Financial Disclosure Report which must be returned to the court for review. The court, upon reviewing the financial application, can determine that the defendant is "financially unable" to pay for the installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock Device. If this is the case, the regulations require that the company supplying the Device will assume the cost of installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock Device. An unofficial survey of judges in the Capital District of New York State discloses that judges are reluctant to make this determination of financial inability.
What Do I Need to Know About New York State and the Toughest DWI Laws In the Country?
Effective August 15th 2010, all persons convicted of a felony or misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) must have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on any vehicles owned or operated by the defendant as a condition of the sentence.
Since the enactment of Leandra's Law, with a Zero-Tolerance Policy, and mandatory program of Ignition Interlock Devices for DWI convictions, New York State enforces some of the most severe drunk driving penalties. It is critical to hire an experienced and aggressive DWI defense attorney in Upstate New York to defend a drunk driving charge.
An Ignition Interlock Device measures the Blood Alcohol Equivalent (BAC) found in a sample of a persons breath. It is connected to the vehicle's ignition which prevents the vehicle from being started when the Blood Alcohol Equivalent exceeds the level calibrated into the device. In New York State the Blood Alcohol Equivalent calibration level is .025%. The driver must also provide additional breath samples at random intervals to keep the vehicle running.
The requirement to install the Ignition Interlock Device pertains to any misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction, or the conviction of any crime under the Penal Law which has an element of driving while intoxicated. This Ignition Interlock Device requirement does not apply to convictions for Driving While Ability Impaired by alcohol, drugs, or the combination of the two.