Beginning November 1, penalties will get tougher for repeat DWI offenders.
Vincent’s Law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo this summer, aims to keep drivers who keep breaking the law off the road. Vincent’s Law is named for a Central New York man killed by a drunk driver with five DWI offenses who had never served time in prison.
Starting in November, prosecutors will have the option of going after a D Felony if someone has three or more DWI convictions within a 15 year window. That means you would face up to seven years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Right now, prosecutors are limited to going back ten years for repeat offenders.
According to the Erie County D.A., 21-percent of the felony cases prosecuted are DWI cases.
“We are, in New York State, seeing a reduction in DWI. For the first time in, I believe, 15 years, DWI arrests are under 50,000. They’re down to approximately 48,000, so some of this legislation is having an impact,” says Taheri.
At one point, the New York State Senate passed a version of Vincent’s Law with tougher penalties. It would have created a new Class C Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison if a driver was convicted of three or more DWIs in a 25 year period, not just 15.