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Just another Pleasant Valley (and Dutchess County) St. Pat's Day

The Dutchess County Sheriff's office reported 15 arrests for impaired driving between March 14 and March 18. The arrests were the result of the county's stepped up enforcement of drunk driving laws over St. Patrick's Day weekend, a part of the Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated, or STOP-DWI program, funded by the state of New York.

According to the county's website, the program involves more than enhanced enforcement over holiday weekends. STOP-DWI calls on counties to push for more prosecutions as well as to implement rehabilitation programs and drunk driving education services. It is the arrests, however, that make headlines.

Of the 15 arrests, five included felony charges. All of the drivers were repeat offenders: Each had been convicted of one or more DWI-related crimes in the past 10 years.

Officers pulled over a 42-year-old man in Pleasant Valley when another driver reported a vehicle driving erratically. The charges were driving while ability impaired by drugs and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Deputies arrested another man in Pleasant Valley over the weekend. They charged the 23-year-old with DWI and blood-alcohol-content of 0.08 percent or more.

A woman from Pleasant Valley was arrested in the Town of LaGrange. The 44-year-old is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI. The same charges were filed against a 50-year-old woman in Poughkeepsie. This suspect, however, was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; a prior DWI conviction had resulted in revocation of her license.

The fifth driver charged with a felony also had had his license revoked after an earlier DWI conviction. He faces felony charges of driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol combined and first-degree AUO. He also faces misdemeanor charges of operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device, speeding and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

As these arrests tell us, a DWI conviction has serious consequences, and repeat offenders face even stiffer penalties. Whether it's a holiday or just a regular Wednesday, drivers can avoid being arrested for DWI by designating a sober driver or calling a cab. 

Source: Hudson Valley Reporter, "Dutchess County St. Patrick’s Day Crackdown Nets 15 Arrests, Including Five Felonies," Bob Dumas, March 20, 2014

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