The New York State Legislature recently passed a law that may have an impact on DUI penalties for second and third time offenders. Tiffany Heitkamp’s Law passed by unanimous vote in early June. The law changes the way boating DUIs and car DUI criminal records are considered in the sentencing for repeat offenders.

Tiffany Heitkamp was tragically killed when a drunk boater crashed into Alger Island. The driver of the boat had prior drunk driving convictions, but the judge in her case was unable to consider these because they took place on the road while the drunk driving case in question involved a boat. According to Syracuse.com, before the passage of the law, prior convictions for drinking and driving a motor vehicle and for drinking and driving a boat were treated as unrelated offenses. Under the former law, a person could not be considered a repeat offender if he or she was driving a different type of vehicle during a prior conviction. Under the new law, the kind of vehicle being operated while intoxicated won’t be considered, just the repeat nature of the offense.

With the new law in effect, more individuals may be subject to more serious felony boating or driving while intoxicated charges in New York. Anyone with either a boating or driving prior conviction, if charged a second time, faces much more serious penalties. Under the new law, any prior convictions can be considered by judges when making sentencing considerations. Individuals who are facing DUI law charges should always seek the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. DUI convictions, even a first-time conviction, can have an immense impact on an individual’s life and future. A DUI conviction can impact your ability to work in certain fields, travel or live abroad, and access certain government and federal services. The Spodek Law Group, P.C. is a DUI lawyer in New York City who may be assist you if you’re facing criminal charges.

Under New York’s DUI laws, you can face charges if your blood alcohol concentration is found to be over 0.08%. However, if you hold a commercial license or if you are 21 years or age or under, the limits are lower. The penalties for a first-time DUI can result in fines, required use of ignition interlock devices, and a license suspension. An ignition interlock device requires drivers to submit to a breath test each and every time they drive their car. The device will prevent the car from starting if alcohol is detected.

Second-time offenses bring more serious penalties, possible jail time, and longer periods during which a driver could face license suspension.

The consequences of drunk driving and drunk boating are high. Not only do you face serious criminal penalties, but you also can face jail time and lost driving privileges. The best decision is to not drink and drive, either a car or a boat. However, if you’re facing charges the Spodek Law Group, P.C. can assist you. Our firm may be able to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors and in some cases we can review the circumstances of your arrest to make sure it was lawful.