Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer How to Understand (and Interpret) Your NY DMV Driving Abstract



If you have a driver's license then you also have a driving history. In fact, you may have a driving history in more than one state because you have moved from one area of the country to another (ie. having more than one license to drive) OR because you have gotten tickets (violations) in more than one state.

A license History = a driving Record = a driving Abstract. 

They all mean the exact same thing. Different states refer to them by different names. In New York State, it is called an ABSTRACT. If you go into your local DMV office you would fill out a form for an abstract request, current fee is $10.00. Some states allow you to go online, and get a non-certified copy of your record as well.

Lifetime Driving Histories in NYS

NYS does not allow you to choose the number of years of history displayed on your abstract. Local offices go back 10 years (at a minimum). Most infractions will stay on your record (locally that is) for 4 years. DWs of all types will be on your record forever.

Many other states allow you choose how many years of history you want. You can request a 3 year, 5 year, or a 10 year driving record. NYS DMV in Albany has the lifetime driving records of all NYS license holders. What is more alarming is that they are now holding these past lifetime record of moving violations, non-moving violations, accidents, points, DWs, and any traffic related matters against people. Something you did 25 years ago may return to haunt you today.

To understand your NYS DMV abstract you must first look at three things:

1. Violation Type: this will be displayed in VTL format (vehicle and traffic law section) and a brief description of the infraction. It could even be a misdemeanor (criminal) VTL, not necessarily a non-criminal violation level offense.

2. Date of the Violation: this is the date that the incident occurred, that you were cited by the police. This is by far the most important date to consider when calculating time periods.

3. Date of Final Court disposition: This is the date that the court accepted your guilty plea (to something) or you were found guilty (after a trial).

TO FIGURE OUT YOUR EXPOSURE (potential) to a New York LICENSE SUSPENSION  

From the date of your current violation go back 18 months to see what the points or speeds add up to.
Remember the law is that if you have gotten 3 speeds (speeding tickets) within 18 months or have accumulated 11 total points within 18 months = A License Suspension.

ie. if you have a current (pending) speeding ticket (violation date) and you have two others (by violation dates) within the past 18 months YOU are now facing a driver's license (privilege) suspension in NYS if you are found guilty or plea guilty to this pending speeding ticket.

ie. if you have a current (pending) moving or non-moving violation with 4 points and you have 7 prior points on your driving record within the past 18 months YOU are now facing a driver's license (privilege) suspension in NYS if you are found guilty or plea guilty to this pending violation ticket.

If you have taken a Defensive Driving Course (in NYS this is one of the PIRPs) then some points may be negated from your record for a time period. Generally up to 4 points can be negated (not count) towards your total points. The PIRP = point insurance reduction program.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
504 N. Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

fax: 866-381-3122
ph: 607- 229-5184

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I am a co-author of Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, both 2011 and 2013 editions:

Leading Lawyers on Understanding Today's DWI Environment, Constructing a Defense Strategy, and Counseling Clients (Inside the Minds) New Edition

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