A former Staten Island police officer was released from Dutchess County jail Friday after serving 10 years at Green Haven Correctional Facility. He was convicted of driving drunk and hitting three family members as they crossed a street in August 2001. The three people were killed, including a baby who was delivered after the accident by emergency Cesarean section. He was charged with four counts of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years, the maximum.
When determining your motor skills and ability to drive during a traffic stop, New York police use the same field sobriety tests, whether they believe you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of other drugs. If police believe you are under the influence of prescription drugs or narcotics they can still conduct a battery of tests to determine your ability to drive and arrest you for Driving While Ability Impaired or DWAI.
Throughout Dutchess County and the entire state, local police officers and state troopers will be riding the school bus on Wednesday. Operation Safe Stop is a statewide program intended to educate drivers about motorist safety near school busses. Officers throughout the county will be monitoring drivers as passengers on school busses, following the busses, or positioned at bus stops with a history of numerous illegal passing complaints.
In 2008, Dutchess County adopted the state of New York's "Social Host Law." The law says that any adult - 18 years of age or older - will face consequences for allowing anyone under 21 years old to drink alcohol at their residence. The basic idea was to hold those over 18 responsible whenever they permitted the consumption of alcohol by minors. The only exception to the rule would be if a parent gave their express permission to their own children to drink alcoholic beverages in their presence, or as part of a religious observance. The first criminal offense would carry consequences anywhere from a fine of $250 up to a year in a jail.
New York is one of 38 states that conduct checkpoints to canvass drivers who may be operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The other 12 states do not conduct sobriety checkpoints because they are prohibited by law, based on that state's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In Alaska, officers do not conduct checkpoints because the legislature simply has not given them authority to do so.