Many people living in New Jersey cross state lines into New York City for their daily commutes, evenings out on the town, or weekend getaways, and so New York’s driving laws often affect drivers here, DUI/DWI lawyers in New Jersey say. Recently, New York legislators took the final steps towards making “Vince’s Law” into an actual law in the state, and this law will have an impact on visiting drivers, especially those out for a night of fun that may include a drink or two.
Vince’s Law, also known as bill S7108, will increase the penalties for repeat offenders caught driving drunk in New York, with 3 or more DUI/DWI charges on their record. These drivers will be charged with a class D felony, and face prison time or fines up to $10,000, and in some cases, may be sentenced with both. The law is aimed at cracking down on accidents and tragedies caused by drivers who have already been convicted of drunk driving, and have not changed their behavior.
The law is named for Onondaga County, NY, resident Vincent Russo, an 82-year-old man who was killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday morning in 2011. The driver, Michael Iannettoni, had an extensive record that included 5 convictions for driving under the influence, and had been arrested on four of these charges in the 17 years leading up to the 2011 crash. At the time of the collision, Iannettoni was waiting for his sentencing on the fifth DUI charge from Novermber 2010, and had a blood alcohol level of nearly four times the legal limit.
The state Assembly approved Vince’s Law in late June, and is now before NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature. Although the law will take effect in New York, visiting drivers should be aware of what this means for them as well, DUI/DWI attorneys in New Jersey caution. While New York’s laws are similar to New Jersey’s when it comes to alcohol limits, drunk driving procedures, and other DUI-related criminal activities, the complications of having to submit to an ongoing out-of-state investigation, and the potential for harsher penalties or different fees and fines associated with drunk driving charges may make your case harder to fight. Additionally, the added penalties in Vince’s Law can result in repeat offenders’ extended jail time, especially if a drunk driving incident ends in a tragedy.
Both New Jersey and New York police officers use chemical testing to analyze blood, or breath, to determine blood alcohol content in a DUI stop. Because both states have an implied consent law, any refusal to submit to a chemical test can still land you in custody, especially if the officer has any reason to believe that you have been drinking and driving. You could also lose your license, and be penalized with a fine, if you refuse the chemical test. Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our DUI/DWI lawyers represent drivers who have been charged with drunk driving while on the road in New Jersey or New York. If you have been pulled over in New York for a DUI, contact an HCK attorney for a consultation today.