Friday, June 21, 2024

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Challenging the new DMV regulations

Starting in approximately 2011, a series of high publicity cases involving repeat DWI offenders led to a campaign to keep these drivers off the road.  In this regard, certain politicians attempted to pass legislation that would greatly increase the driver’s license revocation periods for repeat DWI offenders.  However, the proposed legislation was not enacted.

Dissatisfied with the Legislature’s lack of action on this issue, Governor Cuomo directed DMV to enact harsh new administrative regulations that would render the need for legislative action moot.  Stated another way, when the Legislature could not agree on how to best address the issue of repeat DWI offenders — and/or could not agree as to whether the existing treatment of repeat DWI offenders was inadequate — the executive branch of government bypassed the Legislature and took matters into its own hands.

The new DMV regulations ordered by Governor Cuomo took effect on September 25, 2012.  However, starting in February of 2012 DMV stopped processing the applications for relicensure of thousands of individuals whose driver’s licenses were currently revoked and who either (a) had 3 or more DWI-related convictions/incidents within the new 25-year look-back period, or (b) had 5 or more DWI-related convictions/incidents within their lifetimes.  In this regard, DMV intentionally delayed the applications for relicensure of thousands of individuals who were eligible for immediate relicensure under existing laws, existing regulations and the DMV policy that had been in effect since at least January of 1986.  The purpose of the delay was to prevent repeat DWI offenders from being relicensed prior to the enactment of the harsh new regulations ordered by the Governor — so that the (as yet non-existent) regulations could subsequently be retroactively applied to their applications for relicensure.

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Peter Gerstenzang

Peter Gerstenzang

Peter Gerstenzang is the senior partner in the Albany law firm of Gerstenzang, O'Hern, Hickey, Sills & Gerstenzang. He is a 1970 graduate of Albany Law School. He is one of only three lawyers in New York State who have been Board Certified as specialists in DUI Defense Law by the National College for DUI Defense ("NCDD"). The NCDD is the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as specialists in DUI law.* His practice focuses on Criminal Defense with an emphasis on DWI cases and Vehicular Crimes. In addition, Mr. Gerstenzang is listed as a top DWI attorney in the following publications: The Best Lawyers in America®, The New York Area's Best Lawyers®, and New York Super Lawyers® Upstate Edition. He is listed as one of the "Top 25 Hudson Valley Super Lawyers 2010" regardless of category.

9 Responses

  1. I was charged with DUAI June 30th,2014.Originaly a DWI for incident on 12/14/2013,i hadnt heard of the new regulations until i went to court and got an attorny.i also refused the breathaliser .i had the hearing for the refusal postponed til i dealt with local court on DWI issue where it was dropped down to a DUAI,it was considered a 1st offense because it has been 19 yrs. since last DWI offense.i recieved 3 monthes suspended license but DMV revoked it for a year because i have 3 offenses in 25 years.attorny waived my right to DMV hearing and said it wouldnt have helped me at all to have hearing.i have 5 DUI offenses in my lifetime and am hearing i will be banned for life and will never drive again,is there anything i can do about this.i have lost a very respectable job over this and will have to sell my house as i am not on a bus route and do not have job prospects near my home.please help

  2. i have never involved anyone else nor have i ever hurt anyone in my offenses,i had a clean record for 19 years before this latest incident.added to last comment

    1. Tim unfortunately it does not look good for your situation. These new laws weld you and absolutely are unfair. The 25 year look back is the most ridiculous part about it. I recently was denied a nice promotion at my job because I cannot drive in NYS. Despite doing the programs required of court and becoming a more productive member of society these mistakes seem to haunt my everyday life. It is hard to believe that most judges and lawyers are clueless of these laws. But after being persuaded by a public defender that taking this plea for a DWI instead of fighting the charge I have ruined my future even further. At no point was I told I would be permanently revoked a license in NYS. In fact the judge said I could apply a year after sentencing and needed an interlock device installed in my car for 3 years. I wish that were true. But he had no clue what he was talking about and DMV shows no mercy and are not open to restoring my drivers license. Stay strong the only way to fight to get it back would be to get the charge vacated by saying you were misrepresented. That means a lot of money to an educated attorney and more than likely a long drawn out process that is nothing more than throwing shit at a wall.

  3. I lost mine in 2011, the judge said 18 mo, dmv took it for life I was a truck driver for 33 years, I speeding ticket, no accidents, yet they deemed me an unsafe driver.. I have more miles in reverse, than theses people given the power to take my cdl was taken after the second dui, one that I wasn’t even driving the vehicle, because I was afraid of getting one, the driver slide into a ditch, then took off leaving me with the vehicle, the keeys were in the ignition, so I was arrested. lost my cdl the judge didn’t want to hear anything, I lost my home, my job, my family, my self esteem..i never hurt anyone. I got a dwi, 4 years later after a day of fruitless searching for a job..It wouldn’t have happened if not for a corrupt system.. Maybe coumo will get arrested as I heard he likes his booze.Im sure he will get away with it. just like the dmv commissioners brother did..drunk hit and run, just not fair.. my life has been taken away…bullshit!

  4. In August of 2015 I moved to NY from Maryland, I sold my home in MD and moved to the summer home in Woodstock. I surrendered my MD license was issued a NY license. Within 2 weeks I received a letter from DMV telling me my application was denied and that I needed to surrender my license. It was based on the 2012 repeat offender law. Yes I have had 5 DWI’s on my driving record, with the last being 29 years ago. I went through medical advisory boards, multiple programs etc all required by Maryland to get my license back which I have had for decades, I have been clean and sober for 29 years ( ever since my last DUI). My driving record information was put on the application , and if I had been made aware of the law I would not have surrendered my Md license and would not have become a NY resident. I would have stayed in Md. Its very discouraging.

  5. OMG! I cannot believe this – what a draconian and oppressive regulation. 25 years???? So if you have, Thank God, injured no one, was NOT involved in any accidents but have a disease (addiction) and have turned your life around and suppressed one’s “failings”, say, for 15 years it is still possible a driver is still subject to permanent revocation in NYS.
    Though an inexact analogy, it is reminiscent of how totalitarian regimes have treated their personae non gratae.

    1. My situation- .06 1995, .1 1998, refusal 1999.
      from the refusal (pled guilty) I did 3months in Nassau County correctional mostly in the substance abuse program with in the jail.
      When released I entered a halfway/sober house with an intensive out patient program ,that I completed, while living in the sober house for over a year.
      I also made it through 5years of fenonly probation without any issues (sentence from the refusal).
      I changed my life at that point.
      2007 I got my license back, got married, have a son.
      2013 I’m going to pick my son up from school and am pulled over and given a cell phone ticket (not texting). I denied it and pled not guilty.
      I had no idea I was facing revocation when I went to court, with out a lawyer, to fight the ticket.
      I left that day finding out I would lose my license (maybe for good).
      So here I am 46, still don’t drink, married, and have no issues with the law except for a cell phone ticket.

      Because of having alcohol issues (no acidents) in the past which came to an end 17 years I have lost my license.

      I attempted a DMV hearing but later found out there is no one that has been able to get out of the 25yr look back injustice.
      The lawyer I hired knew that but did not let me know that bit of info until After I paid him $1500.

      What is the deal with this? It’s a cell phone ticket!
      It’s not another dui/dwi.
      I don’t drink for 17yrs.

      I just want to be a dad who takes his son to his hockey travel games.
      And be able to help my 70 year old parents if they need me.

  6. Oh, now I hear its a lifetime look back..this is ridiculous ..I never hurt anyone, clean and sober, yet Cuomo lets illegals caught with dwi go..looking for the 2020 votes..unfair. I would leave this state, but you cant get a license anywhere else if you have a revoked ny license…just not fair

  7. Same here. 3 incidents in 25yrs. It’s been nearly 9 years since revocation,,at the time of conviction it wouldvery been 2.5 year revocation. Due to multiple “policy” changes and D.I.B. dragging feet,,,I’ve just recently been restored. It was finally light at the end of the tunnel. Except that there are restrictions,,,even on my learner permit I can only drive to work and with the interlock…so much for practicing for a road test

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