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New York DUI Law Blog

Admission of drugged driving gets New York teen 5 to 15 years

As the famous poet Alexander Pope once said, "to err is human, to forgive, divine." Some regard this quote as the reason to forgive people for the mistakes they have made in life. Unfortunately, some mistakes are not so easily forgiven, especially not those that violate our criminal laws.

Such was the case for the 19-year-old New York teen who was sentenced this month to five to 15 years in prison for his involvement in a fatal crash back in October 2012. Some of you may remember hearing about the crash that occurred along the Southern State Parkway in Long Island. The driver, then 17, is said to have been speeding when his car slammed into a tree along the roadway. Four of his teenage friends were killed in the crash.

What can I expect with a first-time DWI offense?

Everyone always says that you should know your rights when facing criminal charges. And while this is true, it can also be incredibly difficult, especially when it is your first offense. In some cases, first-time offenders do not even realize they have broken the law until they have been arrested and are charged. In these situations, they may not know what their rights are or what penalties they could face if they are convicted.

That's why, in this week's post we want to focus on first-time drunk driving offenses. By giving you a heads up about the potential penalties you could face and how this could affect you down the road, we hope that our readers will get a better idea of what their rights are as well.

New drunk driving law cracks down on repeat offenders

Like many other criminal offenses, repeat convictions for driving while intoxicated within a given number of years can subject a criminal defendant to more severe penalties, such as bigger fines and longer sentences.

Starting in November 2014, the laws for repeat DWI offenders in New York will be getting even tougher. Two weeks ago, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill into law. The provision is called Vince’s Law, named after a victim who died in a drunk driving accident. The driver in that crash was reportedly awaiting sentencing for his fifth DWI offense and had a blood alcohol content four times greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

New York man could face endangerment charges after DUI arrest

A 41-year-old West New York man could face some rather serious criminal charges because of his alleged actions just days ago. The man was originally pulled over, police say, because he was allegedly speeding and is said to have driven through a stop sign without stopping. But what happened next is what may lead the man to seek legal representation in the near future.

According to police, an officer tried to pull the man over by activating his siren. But the report indicates that the man did not stop until he had reached his home one block away. Some people believe that if they are close to their residence, it is easier to have law enforcement make a traffic stop there instead of on city streets. Unfortunately, this can oftentimes hurt your case because it can lead to additional charges.

Researchers believe lowering the drinking age might avoid crashes

Even though the legal drinking age is not determined by the federal government, there is one, uniform drinking age across the country: 21. This has not always been the drinking age and there were times when the drinking age changed by state. So, what happened? The federal government tied a significant enough portion of a state's highway funds to the state adopting the unified (and often higher) legal drinking age of 21. The drinking age has not changed in the past 30 years.

The thought was that if all the states had a legal drinking age of 21 that there would be fewer drunk driving accidents. While a uniform drinking age may go far to reduce the number of young people driving across state lines to drink or purchase alcohol, there are some people within the motor vehicle safety field who believe a lowered drinking age could actually help drunk driving crashes.

What is the difference between suspension and revocation?

Many people in Staten Island are aware that if they are convicted of driving while intoxicated that their licenses could be suspended or revoked, but what does that really mean? Is there a difference and, if so, what is it?

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there is a difference, and understanding that difference may make it much easier for someone to reinstate his or her license following a suspension or revocation.

New York State Police to participate statewide July 4 crackdown

It is that time of year again: police will be out in droves starting tonight to enforce a statewide crackdown this holiday weekend. July 4 is supposed to be a time to celebrate independence and, at the very least, have a day off to enjoy with family and friends. There are many people in Queens who will likely have a drink or two, but they will need to be very careful before they get behind the wheel as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has recently announced that police will be stepping up their drunk driving enforcement.

As part of this enforcement, there will be sobriety checkpoints and extra drunk driving patrols. This can be particularly frustrating for drivers who have had something to drink but are not legally intoxicated. If there is even the slightest scent of alcohol on a driver's breath, police may force the driver off the road and administer field sobriety tests.

Vince's Law could mean more felony DWIs

There is certainly a difference between being charged with a misdemeanor and a felony. Even if the punishments are relatively similar, anyone who does a background check on you and discovers you have a felony record as opposed to a misdemeanor record may be far more reluctant to hire you, allow you to rent from them or even to interact with you. Sadly, a felony conviction can be quite isolating, even after your state-ordered punishment is over.

While New York state law has long allowed for prosecutors to charge individuals with prior driving while intoxicated convictions with a felony DWI, a bill that is making its way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk could make it even easier to do so. Named after an 82-year-old from Onondaga County, Vince's Law has recently been passed by the New York State Senate after previously being passed by the State Assembly. All that is required for it to become a law is a signature by the governor.

Staten Island man could face up to 7 years in prison for DWI

It is shocking to think that a young man could possibly spend seven years in prison for driving while intoxicated, but a 22-year-old from Grant City is in serious trouble after he was convicted of DWI and second-degree assault. While this is a unique situation in that the young man apparently was not easily taken into custody, it is not entirely surprising that a then-20-year-old with a blood alcohol level of 0.128 percent might not make the best decisions when confronted by police. That doesn't mean, however, that he should spend seven years of his life in prison.

If you are under 21 and have even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system while driving, the New York Police Department can arrest you and have you charged with underage DWI. Unlike the normal 0.08 cutoff, if you are under the legal drinking age, you could get in trouble with far less alcohol in your system. In addition to developing a criminal record, you might also lose your driver's license.

NY lawmakers pass bill to increase penalties for third DWI

New York's drunk driving laws are extremely strict. Generally, across the country, if a breath or blood test indicates that an adult's blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher, then the driver may be charged with DWI. However, in New York, an adult can also be arrested if a test indicates a blood alcohol content as low as .05 percent. The charge in such a case would be driving while ability impaired, or DWAI.

A DWI charge can also carry a felony status if someone was hurt or killed in a car accident that allegedly involved alcohol. If you have a prior DWI conviction, or if your blood alcohol content was shown to be .18 percent or higher, then the possible penalties also increase.