Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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.

To learn more about New York’s drunken driving laws, go here. For Pennsylvania’s laws, which are entirely different than NY’s, go here.

Thanks for reading.


ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062