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Second DWI arrest leads to Dutchess County judge suspension

A DWI charge is a serious matter, and anyone accused of drunk driving is entitled to a rigorous defense against the charges. In a current Dutchess County case, a man charged with felony DWI in July is especially well known in the community: Robert Apple of Downing, a Dutchess County town justice. On Oct. 23, Reuters reported, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Apple was suspended from the bench with pay, effective immediately.

Apple was charged with DWI for the second time in three years following his July arrest. Because Apple previously was convicted of DWI in 2009, the July charge was upgraded to a felony. State law in New York allows the Court of Appeals to suspend a judge who is facing a felony charge. Apple's current DWI charge has not been resolved yet -- he is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3. No plea had been entered in the case as of last week.

According to the news report, if Apple earns an acquittal on the DWI charge, he would be reinstated to his town justice position. If he is convicted of the felony, the Court of Appeals would remove him from the bench permanently.

Apple has been a part-time town justice in Dutchess County since 1991. He was previous censured following his 2009 DWI arrest. It likely will be some time until the current matter is resolved.

As this case shows, a DUI can not only affect your record, it can affect your work and personal lives, too. Because of this, it's important that anyone facing such charges have a full understanding of their rights and options under the law.

Source: Reuters, "Town justice suspended following second DWI arrest," Jessica Dye, Oct. 23, 2012

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