The district attorney for Ontario County, New York, was recently honored by the New York chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the New York State Stop-DWI Foundation for his work in prosecuting DUI cases. The district attorney has been active in prosecuting DUI cases for over 24 years. Ontario County has had some of New York’s highest DUI rates for 28 out of the previous 29 years, but the district attorney’s office in the county has been diligently working to reduce the trend. During this time period, the average number of yearly fatalities stemming from drunk driving accidents has been reduced from fifteen to two. According to the prosecutor himself, Ontario County has assistant district attorneys who specialize in prosecuting drunk driving cases, which sets the county apart from most others in New York.
This story highlights the fact that DUI cases are treated very seriously by authorities. Any defendant accused of drunk driving in the state of New York can expect to be given a sentence of jail time, fines and the revocation or suspension of their license if convicted. A DUI conviction can severely impair a person’s personal freedom and livelihood, and the toughness of the Ontario County D.A. is but one example of the lack of tolerance the authorities have for this offense.
In New York, if a defendant’s blood alcohol content is found to be over 0.15 they can be charged with an aggravated charge. If the driver has a passenger under the age of 16 when arrested for DUI then they can be prosecuted under Leandra’s law. They can also be subject to alcohol assessments and screenings.
Because of the severe penalties for DUI, it is important for the accused to know that they have the right to challenge the charges. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and is entitled to an aggressive criminal defense. This can include the ability to challenge the accuracy of any field sobriety, blood alcohol or breathalyzer tests, and to challenge the admissibility of any evidence or question any witnesses.
Source: MPNnow.com, “Ontario County District Attorney’s Office honored for DWI Prosecution,” Erinn Cain, Jan. 31, 2013