Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) today voted in favor of "Vasean's Law," a bill that would increase penalties for drunk drivers who kill or seriously injure other people. This legislation, which Senator Fuschillo cosponsored, passed both the Senate and Assembly unanimously, and will now be delivered to Governor George Pataki for final approval.
"Vasean's Law" will enhance the ability of district attorneys to prosecute drunk drivers for vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter when these offenders cause a crash which results in serious injury or death. The legislation is named after eleven year old Vasean Phillip Alleyne, who was killed last year by a drunk driver. Because of loopholes in the current law, Vasean’s killer ended up escaping felony charges.
In order to be charged with vehicular manslaughter under the current law, drunk drivers who kill must also be charged with a second infraction. This "rule of two" loophole often allows drunk drivers to escape with little punishment. Vasean’s Law addresses the "rule of two" by eliminating the requirement for prosecutors to prove criminal negligence, making it easier for them to charge a deadly drunk driver with vehicular manslaughter, resulting in stronger criminal penalties.
"When drunk drivers are on the road, their vehicles become moving weapons that can kill innocent people and destroy families. Unfortunately, there are loopholes in the current law that make it difficult in some cases for prosecutors to appropriately charge drunk drivers, enabling these criminals to walk off with little more than a slap on the wrist," said Senator Fuschillo. "With the passage of Vasean’s Law, we have closed these loopholes and provided District Attorneys with the legal mechanisms to aggressively prosecute these criminals and get them off our roads before they can hurt anyone else."
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