New NYS law reduces number of prior license suspensions before felony charge

Robert Brodsky

Originally published in Newsday on .

A bill that will crack down on reckless motorists, named for a Holbrook teenager killed in 2008 by an unlicensed driver with seven previous suspensions, was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday.

Angelica’s Law will reduce to five the number of license suspensions needed to charge a driver with a Class E felony of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.

Previously, a driver needed to have his or her license suspended 10 times before the felony could be charged.

Dawn Riendeau, Angelica’s mother, pushed for the bill in Albany, which was first introduced in 2017.

“These changes will send a clear message to drivers who repeatedly break the law that they will face severe consequences for their criminal actions,” Thomas said. “Preventable deaths such as Angelica's have been caused by reckless and dangerous drivers. And they must be taken off the road.”

A driver convicted of that Class E felony will face a fine of $500 to $5,000 and a prison term as long as 2 years, according to the bill text. After four suspensions, drivers will be notified by the DMV “in bold and conspicuous type” that a fifth suspension or revocation for a moving violation would subject them to the felony charge.

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