New York’s impaired driving laws carry severe penalties. As one example, DUI or drug-impaired driving convictions involve restrictions on driver license renewal.
The state adopted emergency regulations in fall 2012 requiring the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to deny relicensure of any person with three alcohol-related convictions. A New Yorker with certain alcohol offenses must wait for at least five years plus the revocation period imposed by the law. A 25-year look-back period applies to these incidents.
After the waiting period expires, the Commissioner has the discretion to issue a restricted license that has a five year duration. An ignition interlock device must also be installed and used in the driver’s vehicle for five years. The Commissioner may deviate from these requirements under unusual, extenuating and compelling circumstances.
A lifetime driver’s license revocation applies to drivers with five or more alcohol or drug-related driving convictions or three or four of these convictions within a period going back 25 years.
In a split decision, the Third Judicial Department of New York’s Supreme Court’s Appellate Division upheld a constitutional challenge to these regulations. In its August 2015 ruling, the Court ruled that the Legislature intended to grant the Department of Motor Vehicles the authority to issue these regulations and also held that the DMV acted within its scope of authority when it enacted the regulations.
In enacting these regulations, the DMV implemented the Legislature’s policies of promoting highway safety and reducing the increasing number of auto accidents, injuries and fatalities resulting from drunk or drug-impaired driving. The DMV did not violate the constitutional separation of powers by promulgating these regulations.
These regulations, as the Legislature noted, underscore the threat that car accidents involving drunk and drug-impaired drivers pose to other motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Victims of these accidents should seek legal assistance to help obtain evidence so that their right to compensation for serious injuries and other losses is protected.
Source: New York State Courts, “Acevedo v. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, er al., 520060 (Aug. 6, 2015)”, Assessed Aug. 7, 2015