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Cuomo ups consequences for drunk driving on conditional license

When someone is convicted of a drunk driving offense, a judge may order the driver to participate in a DMV-sponsored rehab program in exchange for a conditional license. This conditional license sets limitations on the individual's driving privileges. For instance, allowing only travel to and from work.

In New York, in the past, someone who was pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol while on a conditional license would be charged with a traffic violation. Governor Cuomo just upped the ante for individuals faced with this situation by increasing the charges from traffic infraction to felony offense.

Gov. Cuomo announced this change on Friday, Nov. 1, in a statement to the press. The change was implemented to mirror the cases involving a drunk driving charge after a license has been revoked.

Now, both of these situations will leave a driver facing a felony conviction punishable by a mandatory fine that could range anywhere from $500 to $5,000. This fine is also accompanied by a term of up to four years served either in prison or on probation.

This isn't the first news that makes the warning to "have a strong defense attorney on your side" ever more important in a drunk driving case.

Other amendments have recently been made to New York's DWI laws, including the permanent revocation of a driver's license after repeat drunk driving offenses. Leandra's Law has also been given more teeth by amendments that make it more difficult to for judges to remove the requirement that an interlock ignition device be installed in a vehicle after a DWI conviction.

Source: Gothamist, "Drunk Driving With Conditional License Now A Felony in NY State," Rebecca Fishbein, Nov. 1, 2013

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