Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced new restrictions to make life tougher on New Yorkers with multiple Driving While Intoxicated convictions — their entire lives. The new rules permanently revoke the driver’s licenses of people convicted of multiple DWI offenses.
Before the law changed, if a driver’s license was revoked for DWI offenses, the driver could get his or her license back after a period of six months or more . The only permanent revocation was if the driver had two or more convictions of a DWI offense when an injury was involved.
Now, anyone who has five or more DWIs at any point in their life will never be able to get his or her license back. The same applies for anyone who has had three or more DWI convictions in the past 25 years and had one “serious driving offense.” A serious driving offense could include a fatal crash, 20 or more points on his or her license, or having two or more driving convictions in which five or more points were assessed. When a person with the requisite number of convictions applies for their license to be reinstated, the Department of Motor Vehicles will deny the application. if the driver had two or more convictions of a DWI offense when an injury was involved.
For those with three or four convictions but no serious driving offense, the DMV will add an additional five years to the statutory amount their license is revoked, or two years if the revocation was not related to an alcohol or drug offense. Once the license is returned, it will be a “restricted” license, limiting the driver to necessary trips, such as driving to work or medical visits. They will also be required to have an interlock on their ignition, testing breath for alcohol, for five years.
Such severe restrictions make hiring an experienced DWI defense attorney all the more important for New Yorkers accused of DWI — and not just if it would be their fifth conviction. When the DMV now reviews the records of people applying to have their license reinstated, it looks at their entire lifetime record. So, if someone is convicted of their fourth DWI now, and 30 years later is convicted of a fifth, that person’s license would be permanently revoked. Or, someone could be convicted today of his third DWI in five years and quit drinking. Cut to 20 years later — bad driving leads to 20 points on his record, and he is in danger of losing his license forever.
It’s more important now to keep DWI convictions off your record. Hiring a criminal defense attorney, if charged, is your best bet to make that happen.