Because DiGregorio had been convicted for a third time of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor (OUI), the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (registrar) was prohibited by statute from restoring his driving privileges until after 8 years. The main issue on appeal had to do with when the 8 years began - from the date of conviction, or from the date the DMV learned of the out-of-state conviction.
Ultimately, the case was resolved based on the specific language of the state statute; under the express terms of that subsection, the registrar is prohibited from restoring the driving rights of a third time offender “until eight years after the date of conviction.” The principal argument of the DMV was that relying on the date of conviction for out-of-State violations would create serious adverse policy consequences, because the registrar retains no control over the timeliness of the information that other States enter into the NDR system. Specifically, they suggested that relying on the “date of conviction” would allow hazardous drivers back on the road sooner or allow them to escape due punishment. As the opinion stated:
"This argument ignores the maxim that “[w]here ... the language of the statute is clear, it is the function of the judiciary to apply it, not amend it.”
As it is likely that other states have similar delayed notice and/or reporting issues, this case may come in handy in shortening the length of a suspension or revocation therein.
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