Senator Flanagan Supports Tougher Penalties For Multiple DWI Convictions

John J. Flanagan

June 16, 2014

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) recently voted in favor of “Vince’s Law,” a bill (S7108) that would significantly toughen criminal penalties to get persistent drunk drivers off the road.

The legislation would strengthen New York State’s DWI laws to ensure that any individual convicted of three or more DWIs within a 15 year period would be charged with a Class D felony, making the person eligible to serve up to 15 years in prison and pay up to a $10,000 fine.

The bill is named for Vincent Russo, an 82-year-old Onondaga County man who was killed on his way to Sunday mass in 2011.  The intoxicated driver had five prior DWI-related convictions, including four in the previous 17 years before the crash that killed Mr. Russo.

“We have all been working diligently on this issue,” said Paul Russo, the victim’s brother.  “I am happy that we have passed legislation that could help prosecutors throughout New York State and in some way pay tribute to my late brother.”

“Those who continue to disregard the safety of other drivers by drinking and driving must be kept off our roadways.  Too many New York State families have been devastated by these thoughtless criminals every year and this legislation will help make sure that those who drink and drive are held accountable for their actions,” stated Senator Flanagan.

The bill had previously passed in the State Assembly and will now be sent to Governor Cuomo for his consideration.