A New York judge has ruled that the DMV’s “persistently dangerous driver” license ban is constitutional, according to a decision filed in February. State Supreme Court Justice George B. Ceresia, Jr. issued a decision on one of several pending cases challenging the DMV’s lifetime ban on dangerous drivers. According to recent changes to DMV regulations, certain drivers may be denied driver’s licenses permanently if those drivers are deemed “persistently dangerous.”

New York DMV regulations changed in 2012, and allowed for stronger punishments to be imposed against certain drivers. Specifically, these regulations changed penalties for “persistently dangerous drivers,” a term now applied to drivers who have five or more alcohol/drugged driving convictions in their lifetime. Under the new regulations, these drivers can be deemed “persistently dangerous drivers” and are subject to permanent license denial. The DMV also doles out permanent denial and the brand of “persistently dangerous” to drivers who have three or four alcohol/drugged driving related convictions and one or more serious driving offenses within a 25-year period.


Kevin Acevedo, the plaintiff in the case decided by Justice Ceresia, was convicted of three alcohol-related driving charges, including a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) and a DWI (driving while intoxicated) between 2003 and 2008. Following the 2008 conviction, his license was revoked for one year. When he re-applied for a driver’s license in 2011, Acevedo was eventually denied and designated a “persistently dangerous driver.” After appealing the case administratively with the New York DMV and being denied again, Acevedo took his claim to the courts. He argued that the lifetime ban was unconstitutional as it overstepped constitutional bounds placed on the legislature and violated his rights to due process.

Justice Ceresia disagreed with Acevedo’s arguments, stating “In the court’s view, nothing within the vehicle and traffic law prohibits the [DMV] commissioner from imposing additional requirements upon an applicant seeking to regain his or her license after multiple alcohol- or drug-related convictions.” The decision also ruled that Acevedo’s due process rights were not violated because there is no “fundamental right to drive.” Acevedo’s attorneys say they will appeal Justice Ceresia’s decision.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed challenging the DMV’s regulations on persistently dangerous drivers. Justice Ceresia is expected to rule on five more cases about this issue in the coming weeks, and new lawsuits are continually being filed. The significant change in DMV policy will continue to have an impact on drivers throughout the state. Given Acevedo’s imminent appeal of the court decision and the multitude of similar pending cases, this issue is certainly not settled.

When charged with a DWI or DWAI, it is essential to hire an experienced attorney who will fight for your rights. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI or related charge, call Nave DWI Defense Attorneys. Our experienced DWI lawyers understand New York DWI laws, and will aggressively fight for you. We have been successfully representing New York drivers like you for years. Our team will provide personalized legal advice, and will work closely with you during your entire case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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