This Senator is currently inactive, and this content is provided to you as an archive. To read content from your current Senator, please use our Senator lookup tool.

Senator Owen H. Johnson Cosponsored Legislation Imposing Jail Time On Multiple DWI Offenders: Measure Makes Incarceration Mandatory for Persons who Commit Second DWI Offense

 

Senator Owen H. Johnson cosponsored legislation that imposes mandatory jail time for individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol after having been previously convicted of such a crime. The bill (S.2597) passed the New York State Senate unanimously and is intended to increase the penalties for multiple DWI offenders.

“Repeat DWI offenders are going to jail,” Senator Johnson said.  “ I have zero tolerance for those who repeatedly choose to put innocent lives at risk on our highways.  Our current DWI laws are weak, sometimes imposing a fine or allowing for community service.  Mandatory jail time would make DWI offenders think twice before driving drunk again.”

Under the measure:
* Drunk drivers convicted of two DWI crimes within ten years would be guilty of a Class E felony, face up to four years in jail and/or a fine between $1,000-$5,000, and receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days.   

* Drunk drivers with three or more DWI convictions within ten years would be guilty of a class D felony, face up to seven years in jail and/or a fine between $2,000-$10,000, and receive a mandatory minimum 90 day jail sentence.

* Drunk drivers convicted of two aggravated DWI crimes (.18 BAC or higher or DWI with a child in the car) within ten years would be guilty of a Class E felony, face up to four years in jail and/or a fine between $1,000-$5,000, and receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 180 days.

* Drunk drivers convicted of three or more aggravated DWI crimes (.18 BAC or higher or DWI with a child in the car) within ten years would be guilty of a class D felony, face up to seven years in jail and/or a fine between $2,000-$10,000, and receive a mandatory minimum 1 year jail sentence. 

Currently, incarceration for repeat DWI offenders is an option for a judge, but there is no legal requirement that offenders have to spend any time in jail. Drunk drivers convicted of two or more DWI offenses within ten years are guilty of a felony and face a fine and the possibility of jail time. Those who commit the offenses within a five year period can face either additional jail time or community service. However, jail time is not mandatory and judges can allow the offenders to bypass incarceration and face only a fine or a combination of a fine and community service.

    Research has shown that nearly 22% of convicted drunk drivers in New York will be convicted again. Furthermore, research has shown that statewide there are 481 incidents of DWI for every arrest.

    The bill has been sent to the Assembly.