Strict new DWI law brings lawsuits - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Strict new DWI law brings lawsuits

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ALBANY, N.Y. - Dozens of lawsuits have been filed in New York's Supreme Court in Albany against the Department of Motor Vehicles, stemming from a strict new law cracking down on repeat DWI offenders.

The law was passed in September 2012, but went into effect May of this year. Some say it's unconstitutional because it takes into account a person's entire driving history, even if the prior DWI is decades old or has been resolved.

"A person's entire driving history is looked at," says Renssalaer County Clerk Frank Merola. "If you got three DWI's in the 80's, and you get a fourth DWI tomorrow, that fourth DWI can cause your license to be suspended permanently, even though 30 years have lapsed between offenses."

The law applies to motorists deemed "persistently dangerous drivers" by the state for racking up at least four alcohol-related offenses. Thousands have applied for new licenses and have been turned down, based on the new law.

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