If you ask the average motorist, he or she would probably tell you that the night of the year when there are the most drunk drivers would be either New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl Sunday or possibly Thanksgiving Eve. In fact, Halloween night is one of the worst nights annually for DWI’s, and more particularly, fatalities involving drivers who are above the legal limit of 0.08% and strike pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), 50% of fatal motor vehicle accidents on Halloween involve drivers who are intoxicated.
Intoxicated drivers generally account for approximately 30% of fatal car crashes in the U.S. Between 2005 and 2012, 166 people died on Halloween as the result of accidents in which the driver was above the legal limit. Enforcement is more challenging in 2014 as drivers will notify other motorists of the location of sobriety checkpoints. The NHTSA recommends several safety measures on Halloween night, (which would apply for pedestrians who do any nighttime walking regardless of the night) including:
- Wearing reflective clothing;
- Using a flashlight;
- To the extent possible, crossing the street in a crosswalk;
- Walking on well-lit roads whenever available.
Under the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law, a driver who is convicted of a non-felony DWI faces the following fines and sanctions;
- Fines with mandatory New York State surcharge totaling approximately $900.00;
- Mandatory screening and potential treatment for alcohol abuse;
- The requirement to install and maintain an ignition interlock in any vehicle he or she owns or has access to;
- Necessity to attend one session of the MADD Victim’s Impact Panel;
- The requirement to attend the seven week Drinking Driver’s Program sponsored by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles at the conclusion of the case;
- Payment of the $750.00 “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment” from the DMV, which can be paid in three annual installments of $250.00 or in one payment. Failure to pay the DRA results in a license suspension;
- Revocation of the driver’s license (or driving privileges if the one charged has an out of state driver’s license) for 6 months on a first conviction.
If the driver pled guilty to or was convicted of another DWI within the past 10 years, or was driving his or her vehicle with a child younger than the age of 16 in the vehicle, he or she is facing a felony DWI charge. With a felony charge, the sanctions include the likelihood of 5 years probation, by which the probation department makes the determination when or if the driver gets his or her license back during the probation period. Additionally, there is a possibility of jail time, and increased fines in the range of $2,000-$2,500 with various Court fees.
Contact the Westchester County DWI Attorneys at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you are charged with a DWI, felony DWI, refusal to take a chemical test, or traffic infraction for a free consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss the charges, your legal rights and options.