Posted at: 08/14/2013 4:12 PM
| Updated at: 08/14/2013 5:55 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - As long-time anti-drunk driving advocate Doris Aiken is quick to point out, "drunk driving is not a right."
But who gets to determine that privilege is at the center of a dispute that has generated more than 100 legal cases at one Guilderland law firm alone, with numerous others believed underway elsewhere in the state.
"We're talking thousands of people out there with no hope or chance of getting a license," said Peter Gerstenzang, an attorney who specializes in DWI cases.
After the state legislature failed to act fast enough, beginning about February of last year, the Department of Motor Vehicles, answering to Governor Cuomo, took no action on applications from people whose licenses had been revoked. They had completed the specified waiting period and taken the other steps they thought would re-qualify them for driving.
"What they are doing is calling it regulations but they're dramatically changing our law and in doing so they're violating a fundamental principle of the American republic, which is the separation of powers," said Gerstenzang.
But Aiken, the head of Remove Intoxicated Drivers, applauds what the Governor and the DMV have done. "It affects so many people in so many ways that we can't really be nit-picking," she said at a Wednesday news conference.