Legislation sponsored by State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. that expands New York State’s ignition interlock program for drunk drivers from a pilot program in a few counties to a statewide program has been signed into law by Governor Eliot Spitzer.
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., said, "Expanding New York’s ignition interlock program gives judges another tool for managing particularly difficult DWI criminals who choose to continue to drink and drive and put the general public in danger."
New York’s ignition interlock program was established 20 years ago in seven counties (Albany, Erie, Nassau, Onondaga, Monroe, Westchester and Suffolk) throughout New York State, and allowed judges to require certain people convicted of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance to use a chemical testing interlocking device which prohibits them from using their vehicle if the device registers the presence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Senator Fuschillo’s new law expands the program statewide and also strengthens the program by expanding the pool of drug and alcohol professionals who are qualified to treat and assess DWI offenders.
Provisions of the new law:
- Requires all offenders convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated be subject to the ignition interlock device; other DWI offenders could be subject to the ignition interlock program at a judge’s discretion or at the request of the Department of Probation.
- When a judge orders a DWI offender to use an ignition interlock device, the device must be installed and maintained on any vehicle the offender owns or operates, not just on vehicles the offender operates on a regular basis.
- Allows appropriate health professionals licensed by the State Education Department to be considered alcohol and substance abuse professionals who may conduct screening and assessment evaluations of persons charged with or convicted of alcohol related offenses.
- Requires the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to develop a list of alcohol and substance abuse professionals capable of conducting assessments and treatment of persons charged with or convicted of alcohol-related violations.
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