Plate impoundment: Is New York next?

Plate impoundment has gained popularity in recent years. While some states have failed to pass such laws, others, like New York, may be next in line.

Marking systems aimed at punishing criminal offenders have been around for many years. Sex offender registries, for instance, require individuals convicted of a sex offense to report personal information that is available to the general public.

For DUI offenders, many states have passed what's referred to as plate impoundment laws. Such laws essentially require certain drivers to replace their license plates with special, conspicuous "whiskey plates" or "party plates," as they are often referred to, for all to see.

Plate impoundment has gained popularity in recent years. However, some states have rejected such laws and failed to push them through the legislature. Others, like New York, may be next in line in the growing list of states to pass plate impoundment laws.

Understanding plate impoundment

Plate impoundment is generally the same in all jurisdictions that have passed such laws. They mainly apply to certain offenders convicted of DUI or DWI. Authorities essentially confiscate the license plate for each vehicle the offender owns, co-owns, or drives, and require that he or she install special license plates.

These plates are drastically different in color and markings than traditional license plates. The color coding varies by jurisdiction.

Restricted license plates in the state of Ohio, for instance, are bright yellow with red numbers. In Minnesota, the plates are yellow with black or dark blue digits that start with the letter "w," hence the name "whiskey plates."

Variations among different states

In 1967, Ohio was the first state to pass and implement special DUI plates. Several other states, including Minnesota and Georgia, passed similar laws subsequently after.

However, lawmakers in some states have failed to pass such laws, arguing that these special plates are simply an attempt to humiliate offenders and shame them with a scarlet letter. Further, plate impoundment opponents indicate that the law unnecessarily shames other family members with good driving records who have to drive the same vehicle.

Tennessee, South Dakota, Washington, and Montana were among the handful of states that have failed to pass a plate impoundment law in recent years.

The state of New York, however, could be next in line.

Is New York next?

New York Assembly Bill 586 was introduced last year. The law would require "distinctive registration plates" for "persistent alcohol offenders." The bill was referred to the Assembly Committee on Transportation earlier this year and is still pending.

It remains to be seen what outcome New York lawmakers will take. Only time will tell. In the meantime, individuals facing DUI charge in New York are encouraged to consult with a criminal defense attorney who can mitigate any other potential penalties associated with the charge.

Keywords: Plate impoundment, party plates, New York