Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced on August 1, 2014, that Governor Cuomo signed his legislation (S.7108) creating “Vince’s Law” to help tackle the serious issue of persistent drunk drivers.
The legislation will extend the time period, in which multiple DWI convictions can occur, in order to allow for stiffer penalties. Under the new law, if a driver is convicted of three or more Driving While Intoxicated-related offenses within 15 years, that person would be charged with a Class D felony and face up to seven years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Prior to the new law, the look back period was only 10 years.
The law is named for Vincent Russo, an 82-year-old Onondaga County man, who was killed in 2011 by a drunk driver while driving to Sunday mass. The intoxicated driver, Michael Iannettoni, had five prior DWI-related convictions, including four in the previous 17 years.
“Vincent Russo was tragically killed by Iannettoni, whose blood-alcohol content was four times the legal limit, and was free awaiting sentencing,” said Senator DeFrancisco. “Driving while intoxicated is a very serious risk to citizens on our roadways, and this legislation will help to address the issue by increasing penalties for repeat offenders. I am happy that the Governor agreed and has signed this bill into law.”
Senator DeFrancisco was joined at today’s press conference by Assemblyman Samuel Roberts, the bill’s Assembly sponsor, and Paul Russo, the victim’s brother who was instrumental in the bill’s passage.
Vince’s Law shall take effect this November.