Bill Would Crack Down on Repeat DWI Offenders

Brooklyn DWI Lawyer | DUI/DWI/Drunk Driving | DUI and License Suspension Attorney

Feeling that New York's current DWI laws are "weak," Senator Owen H. Johnson has taken steps to strengthen state laws regarding repeat DWI offenders. If the law - co-sponsored by Johnson - which cleared the Senate in June, is ultimately passed, New York would require mandatory jail time for certain DWI convictions.

While a judge currently has the authority to impose a sentence of incarceration for a DWI conviction, the law is discretionary, meaning that multiple DWI offenders often end up with fines, community service, or a combination of both. Under the law as proposed, a second offense DWI conviction within 10 years of a first would require a mandatory sentence of 30 days in jail, with a maximum possible sentence of up to four years.

With three or more convictions for DWI in that same 10-year period, a judge would be required to sentence the offender to at least 90 days in jail, but could impose a sentence of up to seven years.

Mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of "aggravated DWI crimes," (meaning the driver's BAC was at least .18 or he was driving drunk with a child in the car) are even more severe. The minimum period of incarceration for two such convictions in a 10-year period is 180 days. Those with three or more aggravated DWI crimes would be sentenced to serve a minimum of one year in jail.

The fines for the convictions, which may be ordered in addition to a jail sentence, are also steep. Two or more DWI convictions in 10 years can warrant a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, while a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000 can be imposed for three or more DWI convictions.

Johnson feels the tougher DWI laws would reduce the DWI recidivism rate in New York, which currently stands at almost 22 percent.

While the bill passed the New York Senate, it was forwarded to the State Assembly's Transportation Committee and is not yet a law.