Senator Fuschillo Holds Public Forum To Discuss The Need For Stronger Dwi Laws

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

February 17, 2006

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) recently held a public forum to discuss the need for stronger DWI laws in New York State. Senator Fuschillo has already introduced legislation that would require mandatory imprisonment for repeat DWI offenders.

"Despite the best efforts of law enforcement officials and advocacy groups, state laws need to be changed to take drunk drivers off of our roadways. The time has come for stronger deterrents to make people think twice about getting behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking. The message needs to be clear: if you repeatedly drink and drive, then you will go to jail," said Senator Fuschillo, who also authored the law reducing the legal BAC limit in New York State from .10 to .08.

Senator Fuschillo’s legislation would require a mandatory prison sentence for repeat DWI offenders. In addition to any court imposed penalties, individuals convicted of DWI twice within a 5 year period would be required to serve a mandatory 5 day term of imprisonment. This penalty would be raised to a mandatory 10 days in jail if the offender has three or more DWI convictions within a 5 year period.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who has publicly called for such a law, appeared at the forum to testify.

"I am a strong supporter of Senator Fuschillo's bill," District Attorney Rice stated. "We need aggressive legislation like this to combat what has become an epidemic in Nassau County. I am eager to work with the Senator on this issue and I look to push similar legislation in the near future. We can and must do better to curb drunk driving on Long Island."

In addition, family members who lost loved ones in drunk driving crashes, law enforcement officers, and representatives from advocacy groups such as MADD and DEDICATEDD also provided their input on Senator Fuschillo’s legislation.

"When a repeat drunk driver with a high BAC is given community service, it makes absolutely no sense. They must get jail time, and only jail time. Senator Fuschillo’s bill would send drunk drivers the message that if they continue their heartless behavior, community service will not be an option," stated MADD Long Island President Deanna Cohen.

"Senator Fuschillo's legislation holds repeat offenders accountable for their actions. Under our current law many repeat offenders are given a slap on the wrist and another chance to kill. DWI is a crime which too often results in death and serious injuries. This law applies to only repeat offenders. Repeat offenders send a clear message; they don't care. Passage of the Senator's bill will send a response. Those of us who value life and respect the law do care. Those who don't must go to jail," said Marge Lee, President and Co-Founder of DEDICATEDD.

CLICK HERE to view News 12's story about the forum.

CLICK HEREto view CBS 2's story about the forum.

CLICK HEREto read the Daily News article about the forum

CLICK HERE to read the Newsday article about the forum