Governor Cuomo Signs New DWI Law

In New York State, repeat driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenders are most often penalized with the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID prevents the vehicle from being started by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08%. An audit that included people with multiple DWI convictions in the state between the years of 2012 and 2014 has revealed that around 25% of all drivers requiring an IID were noncompliant in one way or another. Most noncompliant drivers simply never got the IID installed for the better portion of their penalization. While you might think that they must be in deep legal trouble, the legislation did not allow an extension to the sentencing to make up for the “cheated time.”

All of that should come to an end due to a law recently signed by Governor Cuomo. The new law seeks to close that strange legal loophole by allowing judges to extend IID probation periods as they see fit. For example, if someone is found noncompliant for four months, a judge could assign four more months to the IID’s duration, or perhaps even more to punish them.

The legislation was sponsored by Senator Michael Nozzolio in reaction to a young girl losing her life in 2009 due to the actions of an intoxicated driver who had violated IID requirements. Other statistics prompted action, such as an estimation that 1 out of 5 children who perish in car accidents are due to drunk drivers, or that there are 20,000+ repeat DWI offenders in New York State alone.

The question that needs to be addressed is whether or not this new leeway granted to judges will have any checks and balances. There may be an opportunity for judges and courts to abuse the power, and unjustly extend probation periods for an excessive amount of time.

Robert Schuster named one of the 10 Best DWI lawyers in the State of New York by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys handles many different types of IID violations in New York and has represented CEOs and also Attorneys charged with various types of these violations. To date, he has always been able to have the Violation of the Conditional Discharge dismissed. Technically, a violation of the IID could always have resulted in a re-sentencing if sustained. Attorney Schuster sees this new Statute allowing for the tolling period as a just and appropriate modification of the law in line with tolling periods for violations of probation. It also allows for a potential negotiated disposition to retain an egregious violation of the IID on a conditional discharge or probation without a re-sentencing by negotiating a disposition that encompasses a continuation of the VOCD with the tolling period. Mr. Schuster’s successful track record in handling DWI cases is reflected by numerous accolades he has received for his work in that area of law, including:

  • Named as one of the Top 100 DWI attorneys in New York State by the NAFDD
  • Named Top 10 DWI Lawyer in New York by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys
  • “10 Best” American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys
  • "Superior DUI Attorney" The National Advocacy for DUI Defense, LLC (NAFDD), 2014
  • Never Lost a DWI Trial

At The Law Offices of Robert Schuster, our highly decorated Westchester DWI Attorney is ready to stand up for your rights after a DWI arrest and get you the optimal result, defending you from and leveraging for you any changes in relevant legislation. Contact our firm today to learn more about what we can do for you!