Double Whammy: DWI And Distracted Driving Charge

driving-while-intoxicated-distractedDistracted driving is a huge problem in the USA. Picking up your smartphone and talking or texting while driving is so prevalent now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have statistics showing it’s the reason for 9 deaths and 1,153 injuries every single day.

It was dangerous enough when one man in West Seneca, New York was pulled over for distracted driving, but when police pulled him over for the phone use, they assessed the situation and found him to be driving while intoxicated.

That’s not all: his drivers license was revoked because of a previous DWI in 2008, and he was required to be driving with an ignition interlock device as part of his restricted license. With no ignition interlock in sight and an intoxicated driver behind the wheel, police asked him to submit to a breathalyzer test. Incredibly, he refused.

It started as a distracted driving charge, but the felony charge wasn’t far behind. Normally a distracted driving charge will only net a driver a small fine and demerit points on his or her drivers license. This driver was charged with:

  • Felony count of driving while intoxicated
  • Aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle
  • Misdemeanor count of operation a vehicle without an ignition interlock device
  • Cell phone violation

Odds are, any judge he gets in front of isn’t going to look too favorably on him flagrantly ignoring driving while intoxicated and distracted driving laws. In a situation like this, it’s extremely fortunate that no one was injured or killed, because you just can’t focus on driving your vehicle when you’re drunk and distracted.

He’ll have a while to think about it though, because he’s being held in a holding center until his court appearance on September 22nd. Maybe this conviction will help him realize there are rules to follow when you drive, and those rules don’t change just to suit your own situation.

It’s All Fun And Games Until Your Child Has To Drive You Home

New-York-DUISome things you see online really make you scratch your head and wonder what someone was thinking. Take parents who drink and drive with their kids in the car as an example—there are countless news topics posted every month about parents arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) with their children along for the ride, and that’s why there are laws upgrading a DUI to aggravated DUI or new laws with additional penalties for drunk parents.

But one man in New York who was drunk with his 10 year old along decided not to drink and drive. That might sound like a good thing, but the problem started when he handed the keys over to his child and got into the back seat of the truck. The child was driving the truck up Route 9P in New York State when he was spotted by another driver who contacted the police, and he was pulled over shortly after.

Since New York put a child endangerment law on the books a few years ago, anyone charged with DUI with a child in the vehicle will be subject to penalties under Leandra’s Law. Named after a young girl who was killed in a drunk driving crash caused by the adult driving her vehicle, Leandra’s Law makes it an automatic felony for any offender who chooses to drink and drive with a child younger than the age of 15 in the vehicle.

Anyone charged under Leandra’s Law face a prison sentence of up to 4 years, fines up to $5,000, and a mandatory ignition interlock for at least six months. Will this offender be charged under Leandra’s Law? It’s up to the judge at this point. Although he wasn’t actually driving the vehicle, he was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and permitting unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Why not put the safety of children first by making the commitment to never drink and drive, especially if you have your kids in the car?

Here’s Why You Don’t Want To Drink And Drive With Your Kids In The Car

impaired-driving-kids-in-carMost people realize that when you choose to drink and drive you run the risk of injuring or killing yourself or someone else. But that’s just most people. There are a lot of people out there who don’t even consider the risks of drinking and driving, and not only will they go for a drive after having a drink or two, they’ll take their kids along with them.

Almost every day you can read somewhere about how a parent drinking and driving with their kids in the car, but if that parent decides to do that in New York State, they’ll have to deal with a law specifically designed to penalize them for doing so. In addition to charges for driving while intoxicated (DUI) law in New York State, people who drink and drive with a minor under the age of 16 in their vehicle are subject to Leandra’s Law.

Leandra’s Law came into effect on December 18th, 2009. It was named in memory of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, a young girl killed in an SUV she and several other children were riding in crashed due to the driver being drunk. When Lendara’s Law was passed, New York became one of 36 states with special child endangerment laws that penalize people who take children with them when they drink and drive.

Because of Leandra’s law, anyone who drinks and drives in New York must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive for at least 6 months. If the offender gets behind the wheel without their ignition interlock device, he or she faces a Class A misdemeanor and they could go to jail for up to one year. Helping someone drive without their ignition interlock is punishable too: if you’re caught helping someone cheat their interlock device, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor too.

Think twice before you drink and drive, especially if you’re responsible for children and they’re with you. It’s far easier to call a cab for everyone to get home safely than it is to run the risk of taking an innocent life.

Suffolk County Is The Drunk Driving Crash Capital Of New York

long-island-drunk-driving-capitalLong Island is known for its beautiful beaches and the fact that it’s so close to the city, but one thing that Long Island probably doesn’t want attached to its good name is that it’s the drunk driving capital of New York. That’s because there have been more alcohol-related crashes in Long Island than anywhere else in New York State.

All you need to do is take a look at the data and you’ll see a steep increase in drunk driving crashes, espeically in Suffolk County. In 2007 there were 1,024 alcohol-related crashes in Suffolk County and 699 in Nassau County. Fast-forward to 2013 and that number has dropped, but Suffolk still had 853 alcohol-related crashes, a number that was 10% of New York State’s total that year. Nassau County followed with 548 alcohol-related crashes.

If the state’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws are any indication, law makers are making an effort to crack down on DUI offenders. In 1981 they passed the Stop D.W.I. law that required every county to have an anti-drunk driving program that’s funded with the fines that drunk drivers must pay if convicted.

New York also passed Leandra’s Law in 2009. That law makes it a felony if you drink and drive with a child in your vehicle, even if it’s your first offense. It also requires all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Suffolk County is fighting back too. They have a team of police officers who set up checkpoints 5 nights a week in different spots throughout the county. They add extra enforcement during the busy summer months too.

It might have the distinction of being the drunk driving capital of New York, but with checkpoints set up every night and law makers improving DUI laws, drunk drivers in Long Island should know that harsh consequences are waiting for them if get behind the wheel after drinking.

Should You Refuse A Breathalyzer?

refuse-breathalyzerDrinking and driving is something that people tend to not worry about until they’re getting stopped at a checkpoint or they’ve been pulled over for suspicion of drinking and driving. If you’ve had one or two drinks, you’ll be spending those first few minutes trying to decide what you’ll do if the officer asks you to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Chances are, he probably will ask you to blow into a breathalyzer, so what happens if you decline his or her request and opt to not give a breath sample? Despite what you can read on the Internet about your right to decline a breathalyzer test, if you’ve been drinking and driving, declining the breathalyzer isn’t going to help you avoid penalties for driving under the influence (DUI).

That’s because most states have something called Implied Consent, and that means just by applying for a drivers license in your state, you agree to submit to a breathalyzer test if you’re asked to take one. If you say no to the test, you’ll be subject to penalties that are, in some cases, almost exactly the same as if you were arrested and convicted for drinking and driving. Take New York for example—if you refuse a breathalyzer in New York state, you’ll lose your drivers license for an entire year. That’s exactly the same as the penalty when you’re arrested for drinking and driving.

It’s against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol in every state, and if you do you’ll receive penalties including possible jail time, drivers license suspension, and the possibility of a having an ignition interlock in every vehicle you drive.

The only way to avoid those penalties is to not drink and drive. You might read somewhere that you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer, but in the long run you’ll end up in the exact same position.

Life After A DUI In New York

life-after-dui-newyorkNew York, New York, it’s a wonderful town. With office towers crammed onto every city block and the Statue of Liberty standing in the harbor as a symbol of freedom, it’s a great place to live or vacation. But that freedom can be yanked out from under you if you receive a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, and life a DUI in New York can be a rough road.

If you’re a first offender in New York

Cabs may be more common than personal cars in New York, but every day people still put their keys in the ignition and drive after drinking. After you’re stopped for suspicion of DUI and fail a breathalyzer test, you’ll be arrested and given a court summons. That’s where reality hits home for a lot of DUI offenders.

How high was your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when you were arrested? You’ll want to know these numbers because it could mean higher fines and stiffer penalties. For a first offender with a BAC over .18, your fines will range from $1,000 to $2,500.

Jail time isn’t mandatory for a first offender in many states, but in New York you could be seeing the inside of a jail cell for up to 1 year. And when you get out of jail, you’ll be grateful there are so many cabs available, because you won’t be able to drive your vehicle for a minimum of six months or 1 year if your BAC was .18 and over.

When you do get your driver’s license back, you’ll be able to drive again, but only once you install your mandatory ignition interlock device for a minimum of 6 months.

Life for a first DUI offender in New York may seem harsh, but the real penalties kick in when you decide to become a repeat offender. A third or fourth DUI offense is considered a Class D felony, and it comes with fines up to $10,000. You could also spend up to 7 years in jail, lose your driver’s license for 1 year, be denied your license by the DMV for 5 years, and you’ll be classified as a problem driver.

If you ever do receive the privilege to drive again, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device for 5 years.

Those New York cabs look pretty good right now, don’t they? Stay safe after drinking and call a cab instead of driving.

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