New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law that makes it a felony to drive drunk while using a conditional license.
Drivers who lose their license may receive a conditional license that allows them to go on limited trips to school, work and medical appointments.
Surprisingly, driving drunk on a revoked license was already a felony, but doing it on a conditional license has been only a traffic infraction.
While I am critical of many new laws that do little or nothing, this law does serve a purpose and address a problem. As a former prosecutor I have seen many circumstances where an individual spiraled out of control and was arrested for DWI 2 or even 3 times in a very short period of time. While a second DWI conviction within 10 years of the first DWI conviction is a felony, multiple DWI’s committed before there is a conviction on the first are all just misdemeanors. This situation is addressed somewhat by laws making it a felony to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated and while your right to drive is suspended or revoked for a DWI, it doesn’t apply to those individuals who are granted a conditional license while their case is still pending.
Anyone who is already charged with a DWI and is lucky enough to get a conditional license, but is so out of control that they get a second DWI while the first one is still pending, will now face a class E felony and the possibility of State Prison.
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