NYS Assembly

Our team reviewed the New York State Assembly’s potential bills and found three proposed changes to New York’s DWI laws. If approved, some of these, or all of them, could become law as early as next year. Please take a moment and review what is being proposed, and the possible repercussions.

New York State Bill S4220

Bill number S4220 is officially titled “An Act to Amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Penal Law, In Relation to Driving While Intoxicated”. The bill’s official purpose, as stated on the New York State Senate’s website is: “to make mandatory a period of incarceration for individuals who choose to again drive while under the influence after having been previously convicted of such a crime”. True to its word, this is exactly what the bill does.

If bill S4220 becomes law that will not be the case, instead the bill would impose mandatory jail sentences as follows:

  • For individuals who have been convicted of a DWI, DWAI Drugs, or DWAI Combined Influence under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192 and have a prior conviction of DWI, DWAI Drugs, or DWAI Combined Influence within 10 years there would be a mandatory 30 day jail sentence.
  • For individuals who have been convicted of a DWI, DWAI Drugs, or DWAI Combined Influence under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192 and have two or more prior convictions of DWI, DWAI Drugs, or DWAI Combined Influence within 10 years there would be a mandatory 90 day jail sentence.
  • For individuals who have been convicted of an Aggravated Misdemeanor DWI under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192 and have a prior conviction of Aggravated Misdemeanor DWI within 10 years there would be a mandatory 180 day jail sentence.
  • For individuals who have been convicted of an Aggravated Misdemeanor DWI under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192 and have two or prior convictions of Aggravated Misdemeanor DWI within 10 years there would be a mandatory one (1) year jail sentence.

New York State Bill S2976

Bill number S2976 is officially titled “An Act to Amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law, In Relation to Acting as a Supervising Driver While Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs”. The bill seeks to add conduct to the already existing DWI statute (Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192).

As it stands now an individual who operates a vehicle intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs, with a child fifteen years of age or less inside, is guilty of an E-felony. Bill number S2976, if enacted, would make it a misdemeanor to be intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs while being a “supervising driver”, and an E-felony if the “supervising driver” was found to have a blood alcohol level of .18 or higher. “Supervising driver” meaning anyone qualified under the law to supervise someone with a learner’s permit or junior license. There are two important aspects of this proposed law that individuals need to be aware of:

  • First, it allows an individual to be charged with a felony, when they are not even operating the vehicle.
  • Second, it makes no distinction as to the age of the individual driving the vehicle with a permit or junior license.

New York State Bill S405

Bill number S405 is officially titled “An Act to Amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law, In Relation to Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting”. This bill modifies the language of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 600, which encompasses offenses related to leaving the scene of an accident.

Bill number S405 adds a presumptive burden on drivers accused of DWI or related offenses that have also been in an accident. Normally a driver in an accident can only be charged for leaving the scene if that driver knew or should have known that the vehicle came into contact with another vehicle, property, or a person. Under the changes enacted by the bill a driver who has left the scene of an accident where there has been damage to another vehicle, property, or injury to a person, and that driver has also been accused of violating the DWI statute, (Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192) then they are deemed “to have known or have cause to know of such contact and of such damage”. Therefore an individual who was involved with an accident, and charged with violating the DWI statute, would also be charged with an additional misdemeanor if the accident involved vehicle or property damage, and an E-felony if the accident involved an injury to a person.

Charged with a DWI?

It has become clear that New York State has adopted a policy where individuals charged with DWI or a related offense will be harshly and disproportionately punished in relation to those who commit more serious crimes. More than ever, it is essential, should an individual be charged with a DWI or related offense, that they contact an attorney who specializes in this area of the law. Hiring the right attorney can make the difference between being subject to the full weight of the criminal justice system and not having your life ruined by a DWI.

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. Corporate offices for The DWI GUYS are located at 432 North Franklin Street.; Syracuse, New York 13204; Telephone No.: (800) 394-8326. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.