Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer 2012 New York DMV "Dangerous Repeat Alcohol or Drug Offenders" Rules Change

Nothing stays the same. One thing we can always count on is change. The world, the laws, the rules, and just about everything are dynamic. They (the powers that be) write new ones, repeal old ones, re-apply, deny, and re-define continually. Keeping up with the changes is one thing, understanding their effect to and upon my current clients and future clients is quite another. Remember a license is merely a Privilege it is Not a Right although in this great country (and especially the country of Upstate New York) your freedom, your independence, and your livelihood are on the line without a valid driver's license.

Which brings us to October 2012, New York State's Governor Cuomo has declared an emergency change to the current DMV regulations. This is effective as of September 25, 2012.

If you want a night time sleep remedy (New York DMV Proposed Rules):


The Main Points (simple but Not easy to understand):

1. This is aimed at REPEAT offenders whether based upon drug and/or alcohol related DWI or DUI.
2. The look back period to impose punishment is extensive at 25 YEARS.
3. Those with 2 DWs (or similar) within 25 years will NOT get their license back early after the completion of the DDP (NYS DMV Drinking Driver Program).
3. Everyone with a DW (VTL 1192)  revocation based on impairment (includes intoxication) will get a DMV "LIFETIME look back/REVIEW" of their complete driving record (includes all states) before re-instatement of their New York State privileges.
4. For those with 5 DWs over their lifetime = DENIAL of license privileges.
5. For those with 3 DWs over their lifetime plus a serious driving offense = DENIAL of license privileges.
6. Even those Repeaters who receive any privileges (conditional ie. partial) will require a Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device for their cars for many years (5 years).

In the "Before" Time

It used to be that the DMV would grant FULL license privileges (not conditional, ie. partial) after completion of the 7 week NYS DMV DDP (drinking driver program). This was allowed for those 21 and older, without a prior DW within 5 years.

WHO Does it Truly Affect?

These new rules are Primarily Aimed at Alcoholics, those people who are drug and/or alcohol dependent. Hence the title, DANGEROUS REPEAT OFFENDERS. I think this is a good thing. I am not pro-drunk driving (those that believe defense lawyers are evil/bad ok, but crazy NO).

Sometimes a big sweep can also affect those who are NOT alcohol/drug dependent. In this case the only people who may be tossed under the proverbial bus are those with very old DW convictions that now will have longer revocations (3 months on a DWAI, 6 months for a DWI, and 12 months on an Aggravated DWI). I have long argued that if someone had an ability impaired or an intoxication conviction from twenty years ago should that be now still held against them?

The Fairness of Holding onto Old "One Time" Baggage  

Holding old "one time" baggage against people happens all the time. Now I'm talking about the isolated incident, not a five or ten year run (a run is a spell of bad judgment/behavior). Say You made "a" mistake, you are a human being, not perfect, but perfectly falable, now what? You had an affair, twenty years ago, so goodbye marriage, goodbye family? You had a conviction for theft/fraud/deceit twenty years ago, goodbye job/position/license? You cheated, you stole, you had bad judgment, are you going to be punished for these old sins forever? A great many Prosecutors, Judges, and Evaluators do this, and they honestly believe it is the best thing to do.

It's Truly Biblical: "There "But For" Grace Go I"

This is a super charged subject but as I age (mature) I try to see the middle. No harsh black/white but where within the Grey does this fall? Depending on your viewpoint this can be seen as fair or foul? Believe me my view is not very popular. It is balanced, for those with 20 year old convictions, to me, in my mind that is a "lifetime" ago. What you did at 20 years old, or 25 years old is not who you are at 45 years old or 50 years old.

"S/He who is without sin may cast the first stone?"

I started this blog with a picture of a held stone, it's poised (just about ready) to throw, , , Against Whom?

Just imagine if everyone was crucified forever for all their past one time past mistakes. I do not think that a 25 year old conviction should play against a person who has been responsible, productive, and contributing for all that time. Should a good life of raising a family, paying taxes (thank you Governor Cuomo), and working count for nothing?

My view, if they are alcoholics, drug dependent, get them help, get them off the road, and then when they have shown/proven/earned stability (responsibility) then give them back limited licenses with ignition interlock devices. That makes sense, that keeps us all safe. Yes, some people should never get a license, in fact some completely sober people (who are horrible drivers) should be re-tested? What I feel is wrong is the Lumping or categorizing of a lifetime for punishing secondary offenders.

Cookie cutter justice is not what this country is about. Individuals and their lives must be looked at in the totality before appropriate punishment is given. Without using objective (and fair) measures for making decisions this sets a dangerous precedent and moves us all in a "one size fits all" direction.

Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Newman
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850