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Stringent new DMV regulations targeting repeat drunk drivers now in effect

According to statistics from state officials, over 300 people are killed and another 6,000 people are injured in drunk driving crashes on New York highways every year. Furthermore, over 50,000 drivers with valid or suspended licenses currently have three or more alcohol-related convictions, while more than 22,000 drunk driving car accidents resulting in 500 fatalities and other serious injuries have been caused by drivers with at least three or more alcohol-related convictions.

In light of these staggering statistics, the state of New York recently enacted tough new emergency regulations designed to prevent repeat drunk driving offenders from getting behind the wheel. In fact, these regulations now make New York one of toughest states for repeat offenders to regain their driving privileges.

The regulations, enacted just last week at the behest of Governor Andrew Cuomo, call for the following:

  • The lifetime records of all drivers seeking to have their licenses reinstated after a revocation will be reviewed by DMV officials
  • If DMV officials determine that the person has had five or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will deny license reinstatement
  • If DMV officials determine that the person has had three or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and at least one conviction for a serious driving offense in the last 25 years, they will deny license reinstatement. (Here, a serious driving offense is defined as "a fatal crash, a driving-related penal law conviction, an accumulation of 20 or more points assessed for driving violations within the last 25 years, or having two or more driving convictions each worth five points or higher.")

It should also be noted that the emergency regulations introduced a significant change for those repeat drunk drivers whose license has been revoked/suspended for six months or a year.

Specifically, they can no longer have their full driving privileges restored in as little as seven weeks after completing the DMV's Drinking Driver Program. Instead, they must now complete the full term of their suspension/revocation before driving privileges can be restored.

"We are saying 'enough is enough' to those who have chronically abused their driving privileges and threatened the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians," said Governor Cuomo in a released statement. "This comprehensive effort will make New York safer, by keeping these drivers off our roadways."

The emergency regulations are now in full effect, meaning they will apply going forward. State officials are estimating that they will affect upwards of 20,000 motorists this year.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

A DWI/DUI arrest can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.

When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Times-Union, "Stiffer penalties for chronic drunk, drugged drivers," Casey Seiler, Sept. 25, 2012

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