New York Supreme Court Says Huffing Not Covered by DUI Law

By Mary Ann

The New York Supreme Court threw out a driver’s conviction for DUI caused by “huffing.” According to the New York Daily News, the Court said gaps in New York’s DUI laws prevent the defendant from being charged with DUI for an accident that caused the death of a teenager.

Huffing is inhaling chemicals given off by glue, aerosols, and other substances. The chemicals replace oxygen in a user’s lungs and act as a stimulant.

The Court said New York’s 1910 DUI law, called Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York, does not define “intoxication.”

Courts, today, rely on a 1919 appellate court ruling that said “one is intoxicated when he has imbibed enough liquor to render him incapable of giving that attention and care to the operation of his automobile that a man of prudence and reasonable intelligence would give.” The Court indicated it would be up to the Legislature to address huffing and other new ways of getting high.

In this case, Vincent Litto was also charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault and other charges. The Daily News did not indicate whether the criminal charges against Litto will go ahead.

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