Senator Jim Alesi (R,C - Perinton) today announced that the Senate passed a bill he sponsored (Senate Bill S.2272) which would increase the penalties for criminal convictions of drunk or drugged driving where a child is a passenger. The Senate also passed a bill Senator Alesi sponsored that would increase penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test (S.2273).
"Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an extremely serious crime that is associated with high rates of accidents, injuries, and fatalities," said Senator Alesi. "Children are typically unable to stop an intoxicated person from getting behind the wheel, and those who are very young are often unaware that they are being placed at risk. The state must do everything in its power to deter careless individuals from threatening the lives of these children, along with the lives of innocent bystanders and travelers, with their reckless actions."
Senate bill S.2272 adds a new paragraph to the Vehicle and Traffic Law that increases the penalties for driving intoxicated with a child under the age of 17 in the vehicle. The additional penalties for a person convicted of such a crime are: for the first such offense, an additional fine of between 200 and 500 dollars with an additional 48-hours of imprisonment; for a second such offense, an additional fine of between 400 and 1000 dollars with an additional 10 days of imprisonment; for any subsequent offense, an additional fine of between 1000 and 5000 dollars and an additional term of imprisonment of between 30 and 90 days.
Senate Bill S.2273 increases the minimum length a driver's license can be revoked for refusal to submit to a chemical test, from six months to one year for a first offense. Current law requires an operator's license to be suspended for six months for a refusal to take a chemical test and one year where the operator has a prior refusal or prior conviction of an alcohol related driving offense.
Additionally, the bill extends the minimum revocation period, from one year to eighteen months, in any case where the person has had a prior revocation resulting from refusal to submit to a chemical test, or has been convicted of or found to be in violation of driving while intoxicated or driving while the ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs within the 5 years immediately proceeding the date of such revocation.
"I believe that we must do everything possible to make roads in New York State safe for travel," said Senator Alesi. "Those who exhibit extremely poor judgment by choosing to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol pose a threat not only to themselves but to the innocent drivers and bystanders all around them. By increasing the penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test, we are sending a strong message that the dangerous and irresponsible action of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be tolerated."
Senator Alesi is well known as a leader in the state’s campaign against drunk driving. He authored New York's toughest repeat DWI offender law during his first few months as a State Senator.