NY Passes Law to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s License

Posted on 
July 18, 2019
No Comments

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will be able to legally obtain driver’s licenses in New York under a bill passed by the state legislature on Monday, June 17, and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The measure passed the state Senate in Albany by a vote of 33-29 after already having passed in the Assembly. New York will join 12 other states and D.C. in allowing illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.

Prior to passing, many activists worried that the bill would be used to create a database of undocumented immigrants that federal authorities could use to deport them. New York State’s DMV uses facial recognition software, and the federal State Department uses similar software at border crossings and customs checkpoints. But the final bill included safeguards against such usage.

Activists and sponsors of the bill touted several benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive driver’s licenses:

  • Increased revenue from driver’s license applications fees and vehicle registration fees.
  • Improved road safety due to fewer drivers who have not yet passed a basic road test and written exam. A study by the AAA reveals that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal auto accident. 
  • More stable insurance premiums in the state due to fewer accidents involving uninsured drivers. 
  • Fewer hit-and-run accidents. Stanford University researchers published a paper in 2017 showing that undocumented immigrants are more likely to flee the scene of an accident due to having uninsured vehicles and no valid driver’s license. 

The law will not take effect until December 2019. Still, many county clerks are vowing not to comply with the law. 

Allowing illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses helps them avoid getting charged with some serious traffic violations, including: 

  • Unlicensed operation. Under VTL 509-1, driving without a valid license is punishable by a fine of $75 to $300, plus a mandatory state surcharge of $88 or $93. A person could also be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail. 
  • Unregistered motor vehicle. Driving an unregistered vehicle is a violation of VTL 401-1a, and can result in a fine of $40 to $300, plus the mandatory surcharge and a possible sentence of up to 15 days in jail.
  • Operating without insurance. A conviction for violating VTL 319-1 can mean a fine of $150 to $1,500, plus the surcharge and up to 15 days in jail. 

In addition, if an immigrant flees the scene of an accident (600-1), he/she could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the severity of the crash. This could result in anywhere between three months to several years behind bars. 

These consequences are all in addition to the risk of deportation should a person’s legal status be discovered. 

If you or someone you love has been charged with driving without a license, valid registration, or insurance, or has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you need the advice of a skilled attorney. The lawyers at Rosenblum Law are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation about your case.

Author Bio

Adam H. Rosenblum

Founding Attorney Of Rosenblum Law

Adam H. Rosenblum is an experienced and skilled traffic violations and criminal defense attorney. Mr. Rosenblum provides expert and aggressive representation to those facing points on their drivers’ licenses and the associated fines and surcharges.

Read Full Bio

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Consultation

Call us now for a quick, free, and no obligation colustion with one of our attorneys.

Featured Experts

Kent Ng

NYPD (Ret.)
Read More

Mike Gheller

NYPD Officer
Read More

Travis Hall

NY State Police
Read More

Related Articles

Learn more about traffic tickets and criminal matters in New York and New Jersey.

Operating An Uninspected Motor Vehicle In New York – VTL 306

Life can get pretty busy, so for many drivers one of the last things on your mind is making sure...
Read More
January 21, 2013

Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Authority Is Open For Business

We reported previously that Suffolk County was changing the way they handle traffic violations beginning April 1, 2013.  As of...
Read More
April 8, 2013

Are U.S Postal Service Workers Immune To Traffic Tickets?

The short answer is no. You may have seen police officers violating traffic laws in non-emergency situations, such as officers...
Read More
April 10, 2013

We've Fought Over 50,000 Traffic Ticket Cases

Call us now for a quick, free, and no-obligation consultation.
chevron-down Free Consult Call Now linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram