“Enough is Enough” – License Reinstatement Gets Tougher in New York

The Cuomo administration has announced a revamp of DMV regulations. The idea is to “strengthen DMV’s ability to keep dangerous drivers off the road for good.”

In the near future, when you apply for a new license after revocation you’ll trigger a lifetime review of your driving record. And if, in your lifetime, you’ve been convicted five or more times of drug- or alcohol-impaired driving, your application will be denied.

Denied, by the way, appears to mean denied. You won’t get a license. Ever.

Your application will also be denied if you’ve had three or more impaired driving convictions within the last 25 years – if, within those 25 years, you’ve also had another serious traffic violation. What is a ‘serious’ violation? According to the DMV, this means “a fatal crash, a driving-related penal law conviction, an accumulation of 20 or more points assessed for driving violations within the last 25 years, or having two or more driving convictions each worth five points or higher.”

Drivers with three or four convictions for drug- or alcohol-impaired driving within the last 25 years – even if their records are otherwise spotless – will find that the new regulations delay, restrict and otherwise complicate relicensing.

Your new license will be delayed an additional five years if your current revocation is drug- or alcohol-related, and an additional two years even if it’s not. And you won’t get a full license, even after that delay. You’ll get a restricted license, good for travel to and from work and other necessary appointments. If your current revocation is drug- or alcohol-related, you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device for five years, as well.

The governor’s press release made no mention of extending conditional privileges during the extended revocation periods.

What can a driver do to keep eternal night from falling on his driving privilege? Drivers in the ‘cusp’, who have three or four impaired driving convictions and 20 points or more (or three or more violations worth five points or more) within the last 25 years might – even now – be able to do something.

Before applying for reinstatement, contact a lawyer to see if a motion coram nobis can be made on any of the prior convictions. This is essentially a ‘do-over’ of the original charge. It’s unlikely to be granted on any of the drug- or alcohol-related charges, but by getting one or more non drug- or alcohol-related charges reduced, you may just be able to claw your way from despair to delay and aggravation.