Tougher DWI law Approved by New York State Senate

June 7, 2007 by Mark Siesel

The New York State Senate approved a bill on June 6, 2007 that would toughen penalties for drunken drivers who kill or cause serious injury. Under the new statute, which is now under consideration by the New York State Assembly, intoxicated drivers who kill would be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, which carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison. This charge would apply to drivers with a prior DWI conviction within 10 years, a blood alcohol content of 0.18 or higher, or a suspended license. Additionally, the aggravated vehicular homicide charge would apply if more than one person was killed.

The new statute in New York would also permit prosecutors to charge drunken drivers who seriously injure others with aggravated vehicular assault, which carries a 15 year maximum jail term. This provision would be applied under the same circumstances as the aggravated vehicular homicide charge. Lawmakers want the bill to signed into law by June 21, 2007, the end of this year's legislative session. The new law would take effect on November 1, 2007. The Senate also approved a bill that would mandate that prior DWI convictions be considered during sentencing in a subsequent conviction.