We got audited! No not for our taxes, for our activity in researching our client’s Driving History.
What is a driving history? The Department of Motor Vehicles keeps a record of all motor vehicle license related activity such as when your driving permit becomes valid, and when that permit changes over into a regular adult driver’s license. They also keep records of all your traffic violation convictions. Tickets are not convictions, and if your are not convicted the DMV can’t record them. However if you are convicted of the violation, they do record the ticket, and if you have too many points, (or any other suspendable reason) DMV suspends your license.
When you are charged with a traffic violation and you wish to obtain a plea reduction from the District Attorney, or from the town or village appointed prosecutor, they will ask you for a copy of your driving record in order to use their discretion as to how strongly they wish to prosecute your case, and at what point they will be willing to compromise. When a traffic ticket violation attorney represents you, the prosecutor still wants to know who he/she is prosecuting, and will ask for their motorist’s driving history record from your attorney.
What is a driving history? The Department of Motor Vehicles keeps a record of all motor vehicle license related activity such as when your driving permit becomes valid, and when that permit changes over into a regular adult driver’s license.
According to the driver privacy act, when an attorney access a driving history record the attorney must keep his own records demonstrating that he is representing the motorist, and that his client consented to have his record accessed.
Recently the Department of Data Services (which provides internet access to driving records) asked us to provide a business record which indicates that one of the searches which we conducted was on behave of my client. It took a little digging to find the file which we were working on a month before, and thankfully they only asked for one record, because providing records on every client we represented over the last year would have taken a long time in unbillable hours!
So the next time your check your client’s driving record ask yourself do I have supporting documentation showing that I am allowed to conduct this search?