senate Bill S754

Amended

Defines the terms "impaired" and "intoxication" for the purposes of the vehicle and traffic law

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION
  • 19 / Mar / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.244
  • 20 / Mar / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 21 / Mar / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 15 / Apr / 2013
    • AMENDED ON THIRD READING 754A
  • 23 / Apr / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 23 / Apr / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 24 / Apr / 2013
    • REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION

Summary

Defines the terms "impaired" and "intoxication" for the purposes of the vehicle and traffic law.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6491
Versions:
S754
S754A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Assembly Transportation
Law Section:
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Laws Affected:
Ren §119-b to be §119-c, add §§119-b & 120-a, amd §1192, V & T L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S600A, A848A, S600A
2009-2010: S4777, A10917, S4777
2007-2008: A10015

Votes

17
1
17
Aye
1
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Transportation committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S754

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the definitions of
the terms "impaired" and "intoxication" for the purposes of such law

PURPOSE:
To codify accepted legal definitions and include alteration
of physical or mental abilities by known or unknown substances.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 119-b defines impaired in conformity with the language of the
New York State Court of Appeals ruling in People v. Cruz, 48 NY.2nd
419, (1979).

Section 120-a defines intoxication in conformity with the language of
the New York State Court of Appeals ruling in People v. Cruz, 48
N.Y.2nd 419, (1979) and expands such definition to encompass
situations described in the New York State Court of Appeals ruling in
People v. Litto, 8 N.Y.3rd 692, (2007).

Adds a new subdivision 13 to section 1192 of the VTL providing an
affirmative defense for persons impaired by a substance a person
would not reasonably know to be an intoxicant.

JUSTIFICATION:
All too often, intoxicated drivers who are under the
influence of a substance that has not been placed upon the New York
Sate Public Health Law Schedule 3306 or a substance that cannot be
determined, escape prosecution. Clearly dangerous drivers can
frustrate the prosecution of their own acts by the simple
legislatively sanctioned expedient of refusing a chemical test
of their blood breath and urine. If the driver has no contraband and
makes no admissions, the intoxicating substance ingested will not be
known to law enforcement, a condition precedent to prosecution under
our current laws. Additionally, some clearly dangerous drivers who
ingest substances or combinations of substances not listed in the
Public Health Law may not be prosecuted under our current laws.

In January of 2004, after becoming intoxicated from ingesting an
aerosol spray can of "Dust-off', Vincent Litto veered into oncoming
traffic, killing 18-year-old Kristian Roggio Litto and injuring James
Sienna, and two others.

The defendant was indicted for the Crimes of Manslaughter 2 Degree,
Vehicular Manslaughter 2 Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Reckless
Endangerment 2 Degree, Reckless Driving, Operating a Motor
Vehicle while in
an Intoxicated Condition; Assault 2 Degree (4 counts); Assault
3 Degree (4 counts). In June of 2007, the Court of Appeals
of the State of New
York affirmed the dismissal of Vehicular Manslaughter 2 Degree and
Operating a Motor Vehicle while in an Intoxicated Condition because
Difluoroethane, the chemical propellant in Dust-Off, is not among
substances listed in Public Health Law 3306.


Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote that she is mindful that, with the
court's ruling, there may be circumstances where impaired drivers can
avoid punishment under the law. "If defendant did what the
prosecution charges, then his conduct was reprehensible -- his
voluntary inhalation of hydrocarbon while driving resulted in the
death of a young woman and serious injuries to others," the chief
judge wrote. "Perhaps gaps exist in the law and the prosecution
should not have to rely on the 12 other counts charged. However, a
determination by this court that intoxication in Vehicle and Traffic
Law section 1192(3) includes the use of any substance would
improperly override the legislative policy judgment."

There are numerous instances where individuals are arrested because
they were driving while they were dramatically intoxicated by a drug,
to the point of falling down and becoming unconscious but because
under the facts of each individual case, the substance was not
identified.

In response to this problem a number of states have enacted
legislation that allow for the prosecution of a driver who has
ingested intoxicating substances.

In addition, this bill adds an affirmative defense provision to
section 1192 of the VTL, which allows a defendant to prove that he or
she did not know nor reasonably should have known of the intoxicating
nature of the substance he or she consumed.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-2012: Passed the Senate (S.600A/A.848A)
2009-10: Reported to Codes (S.4777/A.10917)
2008: Passed the Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the first day of
November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   754

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  FUSCHILLO,  FLANAGAN, LARKIN, RANZENHOFER -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee on Transportation

AN  ACT  to  amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the defi-
  nitions of the terms "impaired" and "intoxication" for the purposes of
  such law

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Section 119-b of the vehicle and traffic law is renumbered
119-c and a new section 119-b is added to read as follows:
  S 119-B. IMPAIRED. IMPAIRMENT IS REACHED WHEN A DRIVER HAS VOLUNTARILY
CONSUMED OR INGESTED A SUBSTANCE OR COMBINATION  OF  SUBSTANCES  TO  THE
EXTENT  THAT  THE  DRIVER  HAS IMPAIRED, TO ANY EXTENT, THE PHYSICAL AND
MENTAL ABILITIES WHICH A DRIVER IS EXPECTED TO POSSESS IN ORDER TO OPER-
ATE A VEHICLE AS A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT DRIVER.
  S 2. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding  a  new  section
120-a to read as follows:
  S  120-A. INTOXICATION. INTOXICATION IS A GREATER DEGREE OF IMPAIRMENT
WHICH IS REACHED WHEN A DRIVER HAS VOLUNTARILY CONSUMED  OR  INGESTED  A
SUBSTANCE  OR COMBINATION OF SUBSTANCES TO THE EXTENT THAT THE DRIVER IS
INCAPABLE OF EMPLOYING THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ABILITIES WHICH A  DRIVER
IS EXPECTED TO POSSESS IN ORDER TO OPERATE A VEHICLE AS A REASONABLE AND
PRUDENT DRIVER.
  S  3. Section 1192 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding
a new subdivision 13 to read as follows:
  13. IT SHALL BE AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE TO A CHARGE UNDER ANY  SUBDIVI-
SION  OF  THIS  SECTION THAT THE OPERATOR NEITHER KNEW NOR HAD REASON TO
KNOW OF  THE  IMPAIRING  NATURE  OF  THE  SUBSTANCE  OR  COMBINATION  OF
SUBSTANCES  CONSUMED  OR  INGESTED.  PROVIDED,  HOWEVER, THAT NO DEFENSE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01326-01-3

S. 754                              2

SHALL BE AVAILABLE  IF  ANY  SUCH  CONSUMED  OR  INGESTED  SUBSTANCE  IS
CONTAINED IN SECTION THIRTY-THREE HUNDRED SIX OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW.
  S 4. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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