How does the New York State Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee Work?
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
The Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) is a fee that is imposed by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DRA fee must be paid by any motorist that obtains six points or more in the span of 18 months. This fee is separate from the fine that you have to pay to the court if you plead guilty or are found guilty of a traffic violation.
The DRA is calculated by a software program within the New York State DMV. There is no live person that generates or reviews the DRA fee. It is sent out automatically when the DMV system recognizes there are 6 points in 18 months. No judge has the discretion or even the ability to waive or modify the fee.
For each additional point beyond 6 points, another $75 is due. Below is a breakdown:
6 points = $300
7 points = $375
8 points = $450
9 points = $525
10 points = $600
11 points = $675
12 points = $750
The fee continuously increases by $75 increments for each point added.
The calculation of points for a DRA fee is simple. Subsequent to a conviction of a traffic violation, a DMV software program checks for any other convictions of violations that occurred 18 months before or 18 months after the traffic violation. The violations are combined and if the total points are six or more, a DRA fee will be initiated. The fee calculation is entirely by the date of violation, not date of conviction. It makes zero difference if multiple years have passed between the date of the violation and the date of conviction.
You have to pay the DRA fee whether you are a New York driver or an out of state driver. If you do not pay the DRA, your license will be suspended. If you are an out-of-state driver, your privileges to drive in New York will be suspended. This means although New York cannot suspend your out-of-state license, they can suspend your privileges of driving in New York State. The charges for driving with a suspended license and suspended privileges are exactly the same. They are both misdemeanors, subject to jail time, and subject to a lifetime criminal record.
There was an issue for a number of years where the DMV sent DRA notices to out-of-date addresses. This caused motorists to go into suspension unknowingly. There is a class action against the DMV that remains pending as of June of 2023.