New York lawmakers are pushing for passage of a bill that would help police crack down on drunk drivers across the state. According to an article from Rochester’s WHAM – ABC 13, the bill would revamp chemical testing procedures for drivers suspected of driving under the influence. Currently, drivers in New York have the ability to refuse on-the-spot blood alcohol testing. If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence and they choose to refuse blood alcohol testing at the time they are pulled over, law enforcement officials must secure a warrant that compels chemical testing from the original. This particular legislation would require drivers to submit to chemical testing immediately if police have reasonable cause to test a driver’s blood, urine, breath, and/or saliva. Reasonable cause to test the driver could possibly be obtained in the form of failed field sobriety testing. While there are penalties for refusing chemical testing, drivers aware of what they may be facing are often more willing to accept those penalties than harsher ones that could be imposed if they submit to immediate chemical testing.
Lawmakers argue that, under the current laws governing chemical testing in New York, drivers that initially refuse chemical testing may not undergo such testing for several hours while a warrant is obtained. During that time, a driver’s body may be able to metabolize much of the alcohol or other substances present in their systems, which makes it more difficult to successfully prosecute those drivers in court for driving under the influence. For instance, if a driver has been stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and refuses initial chemical testing, it is possible that their blood alcohol content could dip below the legal threshold for prosecution while police are waiting for the warrant that compels chemical testing. When the driver appears in court, there would be far less evidence available to prosecutors seeking to convict those drivers of driving under the influence. This can be especially frustrating for prosecutors and family members of victims injured or killed b drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence.
The article states that this legislation has passed the New York Senate unanimously and will move to the New York State Assembly this year. A similar bill has been struck down on three different occasions: 2010, 2012, and 2014. The article does not give a prediction as to whether or not the bill will pass the New York State Assembly this year. There have been mixed reviews from state residents, with some believing that the law overreaches and could result in a number of people not driving impaired being cited for doing so and others believing that those who make the choice to drive under the influence should be able to be punished without hours of formalities that could impede conviction.
Are You Facing DUI Charges?
We have several offices across New York that are focused solely on DUI defense. Their criminal defense attorneys have worked with numerous clients throughout the state on charges related to driving under the influence, and can put that experience to work for their clients. DUI and related charges are extremely serious in New York, especially considering that DUI-related fatalities are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths across New York. Understanding the charges you are facing, as well as potential consequences if you are convicted, is an important first step in the legal process involved with a charge of driving under the influence. If you are facing charges related to driving under the influence, contact our criminal defense attorneys. Your attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing and can work with you to create a defense most appropriate to your circumstances.
DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.