Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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New York DUI laws may get tougher

Drivers in New York are subject to some of the nation’s strictest laws on drinking and driving. The consequences for driving while intoxicated and any related charge can be severe and long lasting as well as very costly to anyone who is convicted. While there is a legitimate need to keep all residents and citizens safe, there is also a need to ensure proper treatment and rights of all parties involved.

An article in the news recently reported on an effort that is making its way through the New York legislature now to strengthen the already tough DUI laws in the state. There are a series of three bills that focus on different aspects of DUI or DWI convictions and law. One of the bills would allow substances in addition to alcohol to be part of a definition of a DWI, including over the counter medications.

Another bill would change the charge for anyone who is involved in a fatal accident after receiving three DWI convictions to a felony. Upgrading the charge from vehicular manslaughter to vehicular homicide would mean drivers could face up to 25 years in prison. The final bill also increases charges to drivers in certain situations. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in either injury or death would be charged with a felony. All three bills have passed the state Senate and are waiting vote in the Assembly now.

Efforts like these may make it important for anyone charged with a DUI or DWI to discuss their case with an attorney. Even if the new laws pass, every driver still deserves a valid defense.

Source:, “State lawmakers working to pass three bills related to drunk driving,” Chalonda Roberts, December 27, 2013

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