State Senate passes DUI legislation


The New York State Senate passed legislation last week sponsored by Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. that would close a loophole allowing someone arrested for driving under the influence with a conditional license to face only a traffic infraction.

“Conditionally licensed drivers have their driving privileges restricted because they have proven to be a danger to others on the road,” said Fuschillo, a Republican from Merrick. “It’s ridiculous that current law allows these same people to recklessly endanger lives again by driving under the influence and face only a traffic infraction. It’s time to close the loopholes and ensure that those who continually put other drivers’ safety at risk face stronger penalties.”

Conditional licenses permit driving in certain instances, including: driving to and from work, school, doctors’ offices, child care, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the probation department and DUI programs. Licensees are also allowed to drive as part of their job (if need be) and for three hours a week to run errands and handle personal business. Those who are arrested for, or convicted of, DUI offenses can apply for conditional licenses from the DMV provided they have not been enrolled in an DMV-sanctioned alcohol or drug program within the last five years.

However, under a loophole in the law, if these individuals drive under the influence again while holding a conditional license, they face only a traffic infraction penalty for operating outside of the terms of their conditional license. Had they been driving with a suspended or revoked license, they would face a class E felony charge.

Fuschillo’s legislation (S4177) would close this loophole by creating class E felony charges for those caught driving under influence with conditional licenses.

“This is common-sense legislation that further showcases New York state’s commitment to eliminating drunk driving and keeping our roads safe,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. “I applaud the State Senate for this vote and look forward to seeing this bill signed into law.”