Enacts "Charlotte's Law"; relates to the permanent termination of licenses of persistent vehicle and traffic law violators.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to enacting "Charlotte's Law" relating to the termination of driving privileges of persistent vehicle and traffic law violators
PURPOSE: This bill would strengthen the Vehicle and Traffic Law in order to better protect the public against chronic reckless drivers who have multiple convictions for DWI or other reckless behavior which caused fatalities or serious injuries. The bill would provide for the permanent termination of a person's ability to drive a motor vehicle where such person has been convicted of such repeat violations.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 names this act "Charlotte's Law."
Section 2 amends the heading for Article 20 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to reference the "termination" of licenses.
Section 3 adds a new Section 510-d to the Vehicle and Traffic Law to provide for the permanent revocation of the driving privileges of "persistent vehicle and traffic law violators." This new section defines a "persistent vehicle and traffic law violator" as a person who has been convicted of any combination of three designated offenses within the previous 25 years. These designated offenses include:
- offenses defined in section 1192 VTL (operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs); - offenses defined in section 1192-a VTL (the operation of a motor vehicle by a person under the age of 21 after having consumed alcohol); - violations of section 1146(b) or (c) VTL (causing physical injury to a pedestrian or bicyclist while failing to exercise due care); - vehicular manslaughter in the first or second degree; - aggravated vehicular homicide; and - manslaughter in the first or second degree in which the death was caused by the offender's operation of a motor vehicle in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Section 4 adds a new subdivision (e) to section 1146 VTL (regarding failure to exercise due care) to provide that a third violation within 25 years shall constitute a Class E felony, punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine, as well as by the permanent termination of driving privileges.
Section 5 amends 511(3) VTL to expand the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree to include the operation of a motor vehicle while under permanent termination of a license. In addition, this crime is currently defined to apply in cases where a person is driving without a license while having in effect ten or more separate suspensions -- this bill would lower the number of suspensions to six.
Although State law indicates that drivers may be subject to a "permanent" revocation of their driver's license, this action is not necessarily "permanent," as violators can -- and often do -- apply to get their license reissued.
JUSTIFICATION: There continue to be problems in New York State with fatalities and accidents caused by persons who have had their driver's licenses suspended or revoked on multiple occasions, yet are able to keep getting their licenses renewed.
Charlotte Gallo, a senior citizen from Schenectady, New York, was killed by a truck speeding through an intersection near Proctor's Theatre on January 2, 2010. Charlotte was leaving Proctors after a night of volunteering for the organization. The individual driving the truck had a long history of being a persistent violator of vehicle and traffic laws, including a previous accident resulting in personal injury. In another local case, a Schenectady woman has been charged with DWI eight times and recently received another conviction. Nevertheless, after finishing her jail time, she may be able to once again get a driver's license.
These are just two of numerous examples that occur throughout the State. These "chronic reckless drivers" are a danger to the public and need to understand that their actions have consequences. This legislation seeks to break the cycle in which such persons continually have their licenses revoked and then reissued. This legislation makes it clear that the driver will face permanent consequences for committing repeat violations. Driving is a privilege, and those who are so cavalier as to repeatedly break the law through their dangerous driving should be kept off the road and no longer given the privilege of driving in New York.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill is not expected to have a direct impact on the state budget.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6496 IN SENATE February 16, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to enacting "Charlotte's Law" relating to the termination of driving privileges of persistent vehicle and traffic law violators THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Charlotte's Law". S 2. The article heading of article 20 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended to read as follows: SUSPENSION
[AND], REVOCATION AND TERMINATION S 3. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section 510-d to read as follows: S 510-D. TERMINATION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES OF PERSISTENT VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATORS. 1. DEFINITION OF PERSISTENT VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATOR. A PERSON IS A PERSISTENT VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATOR IF SUCH PERSON HAS BEEN CONVICTED THREE TIMES, WITHIN THE PRECEDING TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, OF ANY COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING OFFENSES: (A) ANY OFFENSES DEFINED IN SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THIS CHAPTER; OR (B) ANY OFFENSE DEFINED IN SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED NINETY-TWO-A OF THIS CHAPTER; OR (C) ANY VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION (B) OR (C) OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-SIX OF THIS CHAPTER; OR (D) VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 125.12 OF THE PENAL LAW, VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER IN THE FIRST DEGREE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 125.13 OF THE PENAL LAW, OR AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 125.14 OF THE PENAL LAW; OR (E) MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 125.15 OF THE PENAL LAW, OR MANSLAUGHTER IN THE FIRST DEGREE ASEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13285-07-2 S. 6496 2
DEFINED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 125.20 OF THE PENAL LAW, IN WHICH THE DEATH WAS CAUSED BY AN OFFENDER'S OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE IN VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER. 2. PERSISTENT VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATOR LICENSES AND DRIVING PRIVILEGES SHALL BE PERMANENTLY TERMINATED, INCLUDING THE DRIVING PRIVI- LEGES OF A NON-RESIDENT OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THIS STATE AND THE PRIVILEGE OF AN UNLICENSED PERSON OF OBTAINING A LICENSE ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER. 3. THE JUDGE SHALL ISSUE AN ORDER REVOKING AND TERMINATING SUCH LICENSE UPON CONVICTION, AND THE LICENSE HOLDER SHALL SURRENDER SUCH LICENSE TO THE COURT. 4. NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL PREVENT THE COURT FROM IMPOSING ANY OTHER AUTHORIZED DISPOSITION AND NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL PROHIBIT THE IMPOSITION OF A CHARGE OF ANY OTHER OFFENSE SET FORTH IN THIS CHAPTER OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW FOR ANY ACTS ARISING OUT OF THE SAME INCIDENT. S 4. Subdivision (e) of section 1146 of the vehicle and traffic law is relettered subdivision (f) and a new subdivision (e) is added to read as follows: (E) A VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION (B) OR (C) OF THIS SECTION COMMITTED BY A PERSON WHO HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY TWO VIOLATIONS OF EITHER OR BOTH OF SUCH SUBDIVISIONS WITHIN THE PRECEDING TWENTY-FIVE YEARS SHALL CONSTITUTE A CLASS E FELONY PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS, OR BY IMPRISONMENT AS PROVIDED BY THE PENAL LAW OR BY ANY COMBINATION OF SUCH FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, AND BY PERMANENT TERMINATION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES, IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER PENALTIES PROVIDED BY LAW. S 5. Subdivision 3 of section 511 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 420 of the laws of 1989, paragraph (a) as amended by chapter 732 of the laws of 2006, subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (a) as amended by chapter 746 of the laws of 2006, and paragraph (b) as sepa- rately amended by chapters 786 and 892 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows: 3. Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree. (a) A person is guilty of the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree when such person: (i) commits the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehi- cle in the second degree as provided in subparagraph (ii), (iii) or (iv) of paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section and is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug in violation of subdivision one, two, two-a, three, four, four-a or five of section eleven hundred ninety-two of this chapter; or (ii) commits the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree as defined in subdivision one of this section; and is operating a motor vehicle while such person has in effect
[ten]SIX or more suspensions, imposed on at least [ten]SIX separate dates for failure to answer, appear or pay a fine, pursuant to subdivision three of section two hundred twenty-six of this chapter or subdivision four-a of section five hundred ten of this article; or (iii) commits the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree as defined in subdivision one of this section; and is operating a motor vehicle while under permanent revoca- tion as set forth in subparagraph twelve of paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section eleven hundred ninety-three of this chapter; OR (IV) OPERATES A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE UNDER PERMANENT TERMINATION AS SET FORTH IN SECTION FIVE HUNDRED TEN-D OF THIS ARTICLE.S. 6496 3
(b) Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree is a class E felony. When a person is convicted of this crime, the sentence of the court must be: (i) a fine in an amount not less than five hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars; (II) PERMANENT TERMINATION AS SET FORTH IN SUBPARAGRAPH TWELVE OF PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED NINETY-THREE OF THIS CHAPTER and
[(ii)](III) a term of imprisonment as provided in the penal law, or [(iii)](IV) where appropriate and a term of imprisonment is not required by the penal law, a sentence of probation as provided in subdi- vision six of this section, or [(iv)](V) a term of imprisonment as a condition of a sentence of probation as provided in the penal law. S 6. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.