New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for harsher laws to punish repeat drunk drivers. Following closely on the heels of major changes to another DWI law, Governor Cuomo wants to prevent more convicted drunk drivers from getting back behind the wheel. His proposal would sharply increase the amount of time a repeat offender’s driver’s license would be suspended. Gov. Cuomo stated that “[a]nyone convicted of drunk driving two times in three years should lose their license for five years and three strikes and you’re out and you are off the road, period.” He cited state officials who recently found that approximately 47,000 New York drivers with at least three DWI convictions still had their licenses.
The law change, proposed by Assembly Members Steve McLaughlin and Jim Tedisco, follows closely on the heels of an expansion of Leandra’s Law. Leandra’s Law was enacted in 2009, and originally required an automatic felony charge for any intoxicated driver traveling with a minor 15 years old or younger. As of November 1st, 2013, Leandra’s Law was overhauled with much stricter penalties for repeat DWI offenders. Now, the law requires that any driver with a conditional driver’s license (a license that restricts driving to only essential locations) who drives while intoxicated again to be charged with a felony. Previously, impaired drivers with conditional licenses could only be charged with a traffic violation. Leandra’s Law also allows judges to require offenders to install interlock ignition devices on their vehicles to prevent further impaired driving.
Cuomo agreed with McLaughlin’s and Tedisco’s proposal for the new DWI law along with a proposed change to increase the penalty for drivers caught texting while operating a vehicle. The Governor obviously has little tolerance for dangerous drivers; his new suggestions are among many that he has pitched to the state legislature over the years. New York already has harsh penalties on the books for repeat intoxicated drivers. In September 2012, the state enacted a law to deny license renewals to anyone with five or more DWI convictions in a lifetime. That law also denies licenses to any driver with three or more DWI convictions in the span of 25 years. Cuomo’s “three strikes and you’re out” policy would significantly increase the penalty for repeat DWI convictions. If the proposed change becomes law, New York would join states with tough DWI laws like North Carolina and Connecticut. North Carolina requires a permanent license revocation after the third DWI if the driver had a DWI within the last five years. Connecticut revokes licenses after the third DWI conviction regardless of time frames.
If you have been charged with a DWI, you will need an experienced law firm that understands New York laws. The lawyers at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys have criminal defense backgrounds and expertly understand the law. We can help defend you against a DWI charge. Our lawyers will explain all of your legal options to you, and work with you to get the best results. Call us today at (877) 435-7394 for a free case evaluation.
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