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Cuomo: Prosecutors Will Have Access to Driver History

Prosecutors considering a plea for a driving offense will now have access to the past 10 years of a motorist's ticket history, instead of just conviction information, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is making the information available for past point-bearing violations, drug or alcohol-related offenses and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

“By giving prosecutors a more complete story of a person’s driving history, they can make informed decisions and help ensure that potentially dangerous drivers no longer fall through the cracks,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These reforms will protect motorists and make this a safer New York.”

Original tickets are often pleaded down to a lesser charge—such as a parking violation when the original citation was for speeding—when a driver goes to court. That's because the prosecutor or the court is "not aware that the driver has a pattern of dangerous driving behaviors," according to Cuomo's release.

“When Gov. Cuomo asked the DMV to look into how we could make information on past traffic tickets available to prosecutors, we knew that providing such information would have a positive impact on traffic safety,” said Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Barbara J. Fiala. “By making ticket history available, the prosecutors and the courts will have a more accurate record of the violator’s complete driving record.”

District attorneys, paralegals and investigators working under the supervision and control of the DAs, as well as other prosecutors authorized by a DA’s office, will have access to the information. It will be available only if the "disposition of the original ticket resulted in a guilty conviction of a lesser charge, was covered by another ticket or is still pending."

History of tickets that were dismissed, or where youthful offender status was granted, will not be available.

Here are some other specifics, as provided in the press release:

  • In 2010, in town, village, city and district courts, 129,628 speeding charges were pled down from a speeding violation to “parking on pavement.”
  • In 2011, 112,996 such pleas were accepted.
  • Speeding convictions result in anywhere from 3 to 11 points being placed on a license, depending on the miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • If a motorist acquires 11 or more points within 18 months, their license may be suspended by the DMV. However, there are no points associated with a parking on the pavement charge.
Ross Revira March 05, 2014 at 07:46 PM
Everything is a money game. There are only two ways to penalize for criminal matters either monetarily or incarceration. In civil matters only monetarily. The reason why the violation is reduced to a non moving violation is because the town or city gets most of the money and saves the cost of a trial. A moving violation the state gets most of the money. The violator generally pays the same fine. Isn't it a good thing that repeat offenders eventually lose their license?
Honest Truth March 06, 2014 at 04:34 AM
This appendix to the current law is ridiculous! If you were not convicted of a Traffic Violation or Automotive-related Crime why allow law enforcement to subsequently view information and likely look past the lack of a conviction and generate an extremely biased situation that should be deemed unconstitutional and is a very great miscarriage of public policy relating to judicial law! If you were not convicted that should be all that matters! allowing law enforcement and the courts to be influenced by antiquated and inherently biased information that clearly seem not to be rooted in fact is absolutely disturbing and extremely counter-intuitive! THIS LAW IS SICKENING!!! We live in America, a place where a fairly attained "not guilty" verdict is well-respected and not simply a footnote in a rap-sheet!
R Rice March 06, 2014 at 07:05 AM
Looks like another civil rights violation, force fed into law by executive action, instead of legislative debate "for the public's safety." Sounds a lot like the justification for NSA spying that no one seems too concerned about, anymore...
DG March 06, 2014 at 02:02 PM
if cops are going to have our personal digital life history at their fingertips, we should also have access to their personnel files, including complaints like, false arrests, departmental disciplinary actions and proceedings, psychological profiles, and driving and arrest histories. After all, no information is sacred anymore.
bill of rights March 08, 2014 at 11:17 AM
have you driven a highway recently? everyone is speeding. cuomo is the worst governor. please vote for the new guy in november.

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