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Senator Fuschillo And District Attorney Spota Urge Assembly Passage Of Law To Raise Penalties For People Who Drive Drunk With A Child In The Car

 

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota today called for Assembly action on a proposal to establish tougher penalties for people who drive drunk with a child in the car.

Senator Fuschillo (Merrick) said, "A child in a car driven by a drunk driver is basically a defenseless hostage in a dangerous situation. Children can’t take away the keys and drive themselves, nor can they take a cab home. People who are responsible for protecting a child’s safety need to face higher penalties when their reckless actions put that child in harm’s way."

District Attorney Spota said, "Mandatory jail time and higher fines carry a deterrent factor that has the real potential of saving lives. It is also critical that the potential of upstate prison time, which this legislation provides for, be part of the sentencing parameters available to the court to punish convicted offenders."

Under state legislation sponsored by Senator Fuschillo and supported by D.A. Spota (S.5315), people who drive drunk with a child in the car would face an additional fine of between $2,000 and $5,000 and 48 hours of consecutive imprisonment for their first offense. Subsequent offenses would carry an additional fine of between $5,000 and $10,000 and an additional one to four years in prison.

These penalties would be in addition to any other penalties imposed by the courts. The legislation has already been approved by the State Senate. Assemblyman Charles Lavine is the sponsor of the legislation in the state Assembly.

In one high profile case, Karen Fisher was arrested for DWI in East Hampton in April 2006 with two children in the car and a blood alcohol content of .31, almost four times the legal limit. Just a few months later, she was driving drunk again (BAC .28), this time alone in her vehicle, when she ran over and killed Monsignor Costello, and left the scene.


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