After a very long struggle consisting of two administrative appeals, two separate article 78 petitions, and two hearings, we can finally declare victory for our client, “RH”.
RH’s driver’s license was permanently revoked pursuant to the draconian new DMV regulations that we have been fighting on every front, from the trial level through appeal, under the lead of Steven Epstein, head of the DWI and Vehicular Crimes group at Barket Epstein.
In RH’s case, we challenged the constitutionality of the regulations on their face and as applied, in an appeal that was filed on April 25, 2013, by Donna Aldea, head of the appellate and post-conviction group at Barket Epstein. The creative Padilla-like argument that we fashioned to challenge his guilty plea on the grounds that it was not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary was rejected by DMV, but resonated with the New York State Attorney General’s office when we advanced it again in an Article 78 petition, to which they consented.
But the victory was hollow; for upon vacating his plea, RH was given a rehearing at which the ALJ refused to offer him any reduction or plea deal — clearly treating him differently because of his history than the other defendants appearing before the court, at what we believed was the direction of the DMV. So RH was again convicted of an offense that mandated the permanent revocation of his license.
Rather than give in or give up, we vowed to help RH take on the DMV. Through the hard work of Barket Epstein associate Alexander Klein, we were able to obtain the ALJ’s record of reductions and plea offers in the year surrounding H’s plea and were able to show that he had treated RH differently than virtually every other defendant appearing before him. We appealed again, and filed another Article 78, challenging the conviction after trial on statutory and constitutional grounds.
Again, we got the AG’s attention. They consented to the vacatur of his conviction and, this time, we brokered a stipulation designed to ensure that RH would not be treated differently; that he would truly be placed in the same position that he would have been in had he never taken the first plea, as constitutionally required.
And it worked. He was offered a reduction to a lower-point offense that did not trigger a look back and revocation of his license.
This case — involving a true team effort — is a testament to Barket Epstein’s tenacity, creativity, perseverance, and persuasiveness. While this was not a homicide, or a felony, or even a misdemeanor, we won the client’s freedom from the unfair application of draconian regulations that would have prevented him from ever driving again because of a drinking habit he had as a young man, 20 years ago, and a plea to a speeding ticket that he never could have imagined would have triggered a look back that would cost him his license, his livelihood, his ability to care for his elderly parents, and his ability to provide for himself and his family.
This was a long, hard fight. A legally just result. A morally correct result. And an immensely important result to RH.