Friday, October 5, 2012

Why oh WHY is the DMV Not Giving Me Back My License After My DWI?

After representing and defending hundreds of people for DWI and traffic charges over many years one thing remains the same, the Commissioner of the NYS DMV can be much like the Wizard of Oz.

Much like Dorothy , , , Sometimes they (the DMV) withhold privileges, and I am left wondering why? Is it one thing? Is it a combination of factors I fail to see or my client failed to disclose? Is it something we can remedy? What do they want? What do they now require? I can guess or I can call them up or I can send them a letter.

Should I Follow the Yellow Brick Road?

"What? I'm still revoked?

Sometimes they will tell me and sometimes they just deny without an explanation, except to say at this time we are not "extending" privileges.  So we can "apply" again in the future. After time has passed, or my client has completed a program or programs?

I have seen privileges to drive withheld "indefinitely" after DWIs, reckless driving charges, vehicular assaults, after my client was found guilty of both DWIs after a trial, and after medical suspensions. The reasons to deny a license or reinstate one are endless. Usually it is based upon a combination of factors, a set of circumstances, and/or a history.

Of the situations of indefinite periods of license revocation that occur I usually encounter one of two things: Negative Units or History of Alcohol Substance Abuse.

Note: I am not getting into the multiple DWI reason for withholding a license as that is usually a given (easily explainable, understandable, and defined in law).

What are Negative Units? 

1. The NYS DMV has a special system in place that is largely unknown by most attorneys and lay people. Under 15 NYCRR § 136.6 DWs, some traffic offenses, and accidents are not assigned the traditional "points" against your license instead they are assigned just "negative units" by the DMV.

Easy Formula: More Units = Less Safety = No License

15 NYCRR § 136.6 is a "safety factor" section of NYS law that specifically assigns "negative units" to different offenses/accidents/DWs. This is part of the record that the DMV Commissioner looks at if they are considering giving you back your license to drive. BTW things like reckless and speeding get assigned points and negative units. So a double whammy of trouble. Everything "bad" driving/behavior related can cause an uptick on your safety factors. In this instance more is not good but bad with a capital B.

The Surprise 

People are often confused after completing all the NYS programs that they are denied reinstatement of their license/privilege. It is likely that if you have too many negative units (more than 25 pursuant to Under 15 NYCRR § 136.4(a)(3).

If you are revoked for a DWI for example, maybe 2 DWs in the same event, and you have other driving offenses when the revocation period ends you apply for your license back. The DMV doesn't give you back your license because you have too many negative units. The six month or one year revocation or the ability to get it back after taking the DDP never happens.

Do You Have a Drug/Alcohol History?

2. The second major reason not to reinstate privileges is if they classify you as a person with a history of Alcohol/Substance Abuse. The NY DMV also states that any driving record (abstract) with 2 or more "alcohol" related charges (could be a DWAI or DWI) within 10 years and boom, you now have a history of alcohol abuse. This is further defined in Part 136.1 (b) (3) of the Regulation of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

Getting it (Your License/Privilege) Back After Being Classified

So to get your driver's license back after having 2 incidents within this 10 year time frame you MUST fill out and file DMV form DS-449, and submit evidence of either rehab (following an OASAS eval and follow up recommendations) OR a clean bill of health (ie. after a drug / alcohol eval no further treatment is necessary. Form DS- 449 is called "Alcohol Abuse Rehab. Program Summary."
Dr. Lawrence A. Newman

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850