Friday, July 28, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can Foreign Students Legally Drive with an International License?

Driver's License from Another Country Confuses
from life in Saudi Arabia.blogspot 

Cornell University is one of many excellent colleges in New York State which attract thousands of students from countries all over the world. These students come for doctoral and post-doc programs in the fields of science, hotel management, architecture, and engineering. Most have a specific time period for their stay in the United States. It could be for years but most are not intending for New York to become their permanent home or place of residence.

Can these students legally drive on their international driver's license? 

Do these students have to get a New York State driver's license?

Can police ticket them for driving with an International Driver's License?

A License from Any Country is Valid in New York State

Tourists, visitors, and students can use their international driver's license to drive in New York State legally. For people only passing through over a period of days or weeks this is no problem whatsoever. The issues arise when their stay in the United States reaches 90 days.

There is a PRESUMPTION under New York State law that those living here past 90 days are now New York State residents. A police officer will check your paperwork or any papers you have on your person.

The New York State Police Can NOT Randomly Stop Your Car

The police cannot just randomly pull you over, as in STOP your car. They need a reason, in NYS this is called probable cause. Probable Cause for a car stop is usually a moving violation or an equipment violation. So it likely you have violated a state law, like speeding or unsafe lane change to get stopped. If you have been in New York past 90 days they will likely issue you a ticket for unlicensed operator if you are driving on an International Driver's License.

The key to NYS law is this:

Is it Your Intent to make New York State your "fixed and permanent" residence?

That's why all the things that attach you to NYS make it look like that's your intention. Things like having a job, paying taxes, registering a car, insuring a car, and signing an apartment lease. All these need to be countered with your student status, your family residence out of country, and your intent to return to your home country.

Definition of "Resident" Under New York State Law
Section 250 (5) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says:
As used in this section, the term "resident" shall mean domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.
To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in New York State for 90 days is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of New York State. A police officer can use this as evidence to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in New York State without a New York State driver license or vehicle registration.
A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of New York State. If you pay taxes or your children attend school in another state, a judge considers these facts to decide if your intent is to make New York a "fixed and permanent" residence. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are usually not considered residents of New York.  DMV does not decide if you are a resident of New York State, if you must get a NYS driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in New York State.

To Avoid a Ticket for Unlicensed Operator Have Proof of Your Student Status

If you have been in New York past 90 days they will likely issue you a ticket for unlicensed operator if you are driving on an International Driver's License BUT if you are a student from another state or another nation then NYS is not a "fixed and permanent" residence. 

New York Courts of Law are All About Proof: So Bring Proof to Court

Have proof of your school, college, or university status on your person when driving on any license from another country. If you still receive a ticket then you can go to court and show your proof of student status to a judge. This should get a ticket like this dismissed because you do not need a NYS driver's license if you are not a resident of the state of New York.