The State Assembly will be considering "Tiffany's Bill" now that the New York State Senate has passed the new bill, which could have very serious consequences for anyone charged with drunk driving. When someone is arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, there are certain factors that could determine what kind of punishment a defendant will face. If there are aggravating factors, he or she could be sent to jail or face a higher fine. More commonly, however, is whether the defendant has previously been convicted of a DWI within the past 10 years.
Multiple DWI charges increase the amount of time a license will be suspended, as well as the amount of time spent in jail or the fine to be paid. This is why someone facing a repeat DWI offense will want to work closely with a criminal defense attorney who may be able to lessen a charge or mitigate a sentence. If the State Assembly passes Tiffany's Law, however, there may be even more people dealing with multiple DWI charges than before.
Tiffany's Law, if passed, would lump all drunk driving offenses together, meaning that if someone had arrests for drinking while boating, drinking while off-roading, drinking while snowmobiling or drinking while driving, they could all be used in a charge for repeat DWI. If someone made a mistake once while on a boat, for example, he or she could be in trouble if he or she is caught drinking and driving a car much later.
The purpose of a repeat offender charge is to penalize individuals who are caught doing the same thing for a second or subsequent time. The idea is that if you have a harsher punishment, you will learn the lesson and not get in trouble again. This law, however, is penalizing people who may never repeat the mistake that initially got them in trouble. Fortunately, however, this law has been defeated several times in the State Assembly.
Source: News Channel 9, "NY State Senate passes new drunk driving bill," Feb. 11, 2013
Our law practice works with both drivers who are facing a first-time driving while intoxicated charge and those who have had one or more DWI convictions within 10 years. Learn more on our website.