Last January, Allison Lee, the wife of Rep. Maurice Hinchey, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after causing a rear-end accident in Albany County. Earlier this month, she was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation as punishment for that offense.
In addition to the jail and probation time, Lee must pay $895 in fines and surcharges. She will also be ordered to pay restitution to the woman whose car she damaged. In addition, although Lee says she doesn't currently own a vehicle, she will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle she drives.
The penalties Lee is facing are somewhat higher than those normally imposed after a DWI because Lee had a prior alcohol-related offense. In December, she pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired by alcohol. DWAI is a non-criminal offense that can be imposed when a driver is under the influence of alcohol but does not have a blood alcohol content over 0.08. A first-offense DWAI charge is usually punished with a fine and a 90-day license suspension.
Lee's license was suspended at the time of her January arrest. As a result, she was charged with driving without a license in addition to DWI.
Defending New York DWI Charges
Lee, who works as a lobbyist, is fortunate that her employer is standing by her during this difficult time. Others, however, aren't always so lucky. A DWI conviction - especially one that results in a jail sentence - has the ability to wreak havoc on a person's professional life. As such it is important to be proactive in fighting the charge. Often, the best result is one that minimizes the negative consequences of a DWI conviction, even if the defendant is ultimately found guilty.
Source: Albany Times-Union, "Hinchey's wife gets jail for DWI," Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, August 10, 2012.