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Governor Andrew Cuomo approves new drunk driving law

This legislative session, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law, which aims to keep drunk drivers off New York streets. Under the new law, it will soon be a felony to drive drunk with a conditional license.

When a person receives a first-time conviction for drunk driving, he or she may have the option of participating in a Drinking Driver Program (DDP). This program provides individuals with the opportunity to gain a conditional license. Generally, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines whether a person is eligible for the program.

Generally, a person must wait approximately one month from the date of his or arrest to apply for a conditional license. Once the limited license is received, it is only probationary. This means that it can be revoked if one abuses the privilege. Any subsequent moving violations (for example, speeding), could cause one to lose this freedom.

A conditional license limits a motorist’s mobility. With this type of status, drivers must limit car trips to important tasks. A car may not be used for recreational purposes. In most cases, motorists are limited to the following driving activities:

  • Driving to and from work (one may drive during work if driving is part of his or her job).
  • Driving to and from an accredited school or college for class.
  • Driving to and from DDP classes, evaluations or treatment programs.
  • Driving to and from the DMV for reasons related to your conditional license.
  • Driving to and from court-ordered obligations (for example, probation activities).
  • Driving to and from the doctor.
  • Transporting a child to and from a school or childcare facility.

Outside of these exceptions, those who retain a conditional license are generally not permitted to operate a vehicle.

A conditional license and drunk driving

Under current New York laws, it is a felony to drive on a revoked license and only a traffic infraction to drive drunk on a conditional license. However, the law that was recently approved by Governor Cuomo will charge those driving drunk with a conditional license with a felony.

In New York, the law is constantly evolving. Legislators are always looking for ways to toughen the state’s drunk driving laws. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you face serious restrictions and consequences. To learn more about your case and any relevant legal issues, contact an experienced criminal law attorney.

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