Long Island DWI Case & Tougher Repeat Offender Penalties

Another tragic DWI case on Long Island adds to calls for a mandatory ignition interlock device law in New York.

This most recent incident reported in the Long Island Press notes a repeat drunk driving offender on probation and with a driver’s license under suspension.  He is accused of driving drunk, crossing the road and killing a college student, and seriously injuring his friend in the accident.

This tragedy adds to calls for advocates of tougher drunk driving penalties to require more restrictions on anyone convicted of a DWI.

As we previously noted, a bill to require Ignition Interlock Devices for all first time convicted DWI offenders in New York is being considered by the state assembly.

Of course we know that most people convicted of a DWI in New York never get in trouble with the law again. Is it fair, and more importantly, is it an effective use of court resources to require everyone to install an IID?

The proposed law would take away all discretion from judges to determine who is a serious threat and danger to themselves and others. There is a big difference between someone who was barely over the limit, was not driving erratically, and caused no harm to anyone, and someone was dangerously impaired and all over the road, with a BAC of twice the legal limit.

Mandatory sentencing will take all reasonable discretion away from judges to make this call.

But there are certainly some people who have chronic alcohol abuse problems, and these people certainly need extra help and monitoring. That’s why it is reasonable for a law to require the IID after a high BAC reading, indicating a likely alcohol problem, or at a judges discretion if there are other indications of alcoholism.

One size rarely fits all when it comes to the law.

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