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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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State prosecutor wants stronger DUI penalties

Over the course of the past few decades, drunk driving laws and penalties around the country have changed. In most states, including New York, the changes have meant stricter laws and harsher consequences for any people found guilty of driving while intoxicated. Imposed penalties can include jail time, very steep fines, loss of driving privileges and the required use of ignition interlock devices once driving privileges are restored.

Many factors can contribute to the ultimate punishments invoked on people convicted DWI, DUI or DWAI charges. These include the blood alcohol contents measured at the time of the arrests and whether or not the persons have any existing criminal histories. When fatal accidents occur and the alleged drunk drivers are accused of causing the deaths, whether or not those drivers remain at the accident scenes also weighs into the set of penalties.

A desire to provide even more severe penalties has been indicated by a member of the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office. The county prosecutor is the head of the state’s DWI team and has reportedly expressed his views in support of more jail time for persons convicted of drunk or drugged driving offenses. It is unclear if any legislation has been introduced or discussed with this in mind, however.

While prosecutors may wish for harsher jail sentences or even other penalties, defendants are still promised the right to a proper defense. People who have been arrested for drunk driving may wish to speak with a private defense attorney to learn more about how to fight these types of charges.

Source: Syracuse.com, “Syracuse DWI prosecutor: I would love stiffer penalties for drunk drivers who kill,” Douglass Dowty, July 22, 2014

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