NYS State Housing Commissioner Towns Charged With DWI

In an ironic twist, Darryl Towns, former Brooklyn assemblyman and one of the proponents of Leandra’s Law, which strengthened the penalties for DWI cases in New York, has been charged with drunk driving and will likely be sentenced to some of the provisions he voted for in 2009 when Leandra’s Law went into effect. On July 3, 2011 at approximately 1:40 AM, Mr. Towns, New York State’s Housing Commissioner, struck a barrier along an exit ramp while merging onto the Hutchinson River Parkway in Mount Vernon. He apparently failed the three standard Field Sobriety Tests, including the walk and turn and one leg stand, and a chemical test was reported to reveal a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16%, which is double the legal limit of 0.08% for a DWI charge.

Generally speaking, and with variations for men and women (men have more muscle and women more body fat), body size, food consumed, and type of liquor ingested, a BAC of 0.16%, if accurate, is likely due to the consumption of between approximately 8 and 10 drinks. The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office has a general policy of not permitting a reduced plea in a DWI case in which the driver has a BAC of 0.16% (the cut off is usually no more than 0.15%) down to a DWAI, (Driving While Ability Impaired), which is a traffic infraction, not a crime. A DWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances and whether this was Mr. Towns’ first offense.

Mr. Towns pled not guilty to the charges at his arraignment before Judge Helen Blackwood in the Mount Vernon City Court. He is expected to take a plea to DWI on August 18, 2011. If Mr. Towns pleads guilty to the DWI charge, he will be sentenced to a fine of $500.00 with a New York State surcharge of $400.00, be required to attend a Victim’s Impact Panel sponsored by MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), be ordered to undergo alcohol screening and evaluation through a County sponsored program (and treatment if needed), have to install and maintain at his expense an Ignition Interlock Device in any cars he owns or operates for 1 year, and attend the DMV sponsored Drinking Driver Program, which is a 7 week class that is approximately 16 classroom hours. He will also be fined $750.00 by the DMV in what is known as a “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment.”

If you or a loved one are charged with a DWI, another criminal offense, or a traffic infraction, contact the Westchester County DWI Lawyers online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 for a free consultation with an experienced DWI defense lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case in detail and your legal rights.