DUI Laws: New York Gets Strict

By admin

Last year, New York state saw about 12,000 DUI-related deaths, according to local CBS news.

As a result, the state has recently enacted strict new DUI laws to help decrease the number of fatal accidents. State Governor David Patterson signed the Child Passenger Protection Act, which outlines some of the toughest DUI laws in the country – according to the governor.

Patterson hopes it will help provide police officers with the tools they need to better prosecute DUI offenders.

The Child Passenger Protection Act is also referred to as Leandra’s Law, for an 11-year-old girl named Leandra Rosado who was killed as a passenger in a drunk driving accident.

Leandra was in a car with a friend’s drunk mother, Carmen Huertas, behind the wheel. Huertas caused a car accident, causing the car to flip. Leandra was flung from the vehicle, and later died from head and chest injuries. All other passengers survived the accident.

According to a local CBS report, Huertas was charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, DUI and assault.

Under Leandra’s Law, anyone driving a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol while a child under 16 is a passenger can be charged with a felony, and may serve up to four years in jail if convicted – even if it is a first DUI offense.

Drunk drivers who cause serious injuries to a child could be charged with a Class C felony – punishable with up to 15 years in prison.

If a child dies as a result of drunk driving, the offender can be charged with a Class B felony and spend up to 25 years in prison.

In addition to increased DUI penalties, parents caught driving under the influence will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

Leandra’s Law also makes it mandatory for any convicted drunk driver to have an ignition interlock device in their car.

Interlock devices require the driver to breathe into them before the vehicle will start. If any alcohol is detected in the breath test, the car will not start.

These new laws are meant to curb all future DUI fatalities – not just those of children. Hopefully drivers will think twice before getting behind the wheel after one too many drinks.



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.



Yet Another Media Outlet Misstates New York DUI Law

By Mary Ann

This time, the New York Daily News has misstated New York’s DUI law. Currently, due to a last minute typo, New York law declares “aggravated driving while intoxicated” to be operating a motor vehicle with 0.18 grams of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream. 0.18 grams of alcohol equates to a BAC of less than 0.01 percent.

Several news outlets, including the Daily News, however, continue to report that New York has a new aggravated DUI law under which a driver can receive an enhanced penalty for driving with a BAC of 0.18. 0.18 what? Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is measured by percent of alcohol in the bloodstream, not by grams, yet news outlets are ignoring this inconsistency.

As the law stands, prosecutors in New York counties have declared that because, as written, the statute is not prosecutable, they will not enforce the aggravated DUI law until the typo is corrected. They will still enforce New York’s DUI law which has the nationally recognized DUI limit of 0.08 percent BAC.