People make mistakes that sometimes necessitate a punishment through the criminal justice system. Drunk driving is one of those mistakes, but the punishment for that mistake might be getting a little bit more harsh thanks to Vince's Law.
Vincent Russo was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. That drunk driver had five prior DWI-related convictions. Vince's Law is named after that 82-year-old who was killed.
Vince's Law was recently sent to Governor Cuomo for consideration after passing through the Assembly and the Senate. If it is enacted into law, it will mean harsh penalties for anyone who has had three or more drunk driving convictions within a 15-year period. In that case, the charge would be elevated to a Class D felony that could net up to 15 years in jail with a fine of up to $10,000.
While some may argue that this tough stance against drunk driving might help to protect the public from harm, it still doesn't address the underlying problem that is often the root of drunk driving incidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several things states can do to reduce drunk driving incidents that have been proven effective. None of those includes harsher penalties for those convicted of DWI charges.
Ignition interlock devices on every drunk driving offense is one CDC suggestion. Another suggestion deals with trying to prevent binge drinking by increasing the alcohol tax. The CDC notes that approximately 85 percent of drinking and driving incidents involve binge drinking.
If this law is passed, it will increase the need for a strong defense for people who are facing drunk driving charges. Knowing your rights and the current laws can help you to present a solid defense.
Source: CNYCentral.com, "NY Senate passes tougher drunk driving penalties" No author given, Jun. 12, 2014