New York has increased the penalties for persistent drunk driving offenders by enacting “Vince’s Law” – named for 82 year old Vincent Russo who was critically injured and later died from injuries he sustained in a collision with a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit.
It is hard to believe, but Michael Iannettoni was awaiting sentencing on his fifth DWI conviction when his SUV struck Vincent Russo’s car head on the morning of January 9, 2011. Mr. Russo was on his way to Mass in Liverpool at the time of the collision. Vincent died just under two weeks later leaving behind Jane Russo – his wife of 60 years.
The Russo family turned their grief into action by advocating for tougher laws to prevent repeat DWI offenders from getting behind the wheel again. Governor Cuomo signed Vince’s Law on August 1, 2014.
Consequences for the Repeat DWI Offender
Effective November 1, 2014, Vince’s Law requires that any driver with three prior convictions for DWI; driving while ability impaired by drugs; or related offenses including vehicular assault) within the preceding 15 years who is arrested for DWI on or after November 1, 2014, shall be charged with a:
- Class D Felony and if convicted, face a
- Fine of between $2,000 – $10,000 or
- Imprisonment or
- both fine and imprisonment.
How many years of Imprisonment?
A conviction for a Class D Felony carries with it the potential for up to 7 years in state prison.
Additionally, Drivers with multiple convictions for DWI face a potential lifetime ban on obtaining a New York Driver’s License.