Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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New York police say license plate reader led them to DUI suspect

A New York man was taken into custody on felony drunk driving charges on April 9 after an automated license plate reader alerted police that he was driving a vehicle with a suspended registration. The subsequent records check revealed that he had faced DUI charges twice during the last 10 years and his driver's license has been suspended 26 times. During an April 10 arraignment hearing in Long Beach, the man was transferred to the custody of the Nassau County Sheriff's Department. He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 16.

The man's vehicle was pulled over after officers with the Long Beach police Department received a notification from the city's "Ring of Steel" automated license plate monitoring system. The system, which uses cameras to scan license plates, alerts police when it identifies vehicles that have been involved in accidents, are stolen or were used to commit crimes. The system also helps law enforcement to deal with scofflaws by sending notifications about suspended registrations and unpaid fines.

Initial reports do not indicate what led police to determine that the man was driving while under the influence of alcohol or what toxicology tests subsequently revealed his blood alcohol level to be. He has been charged with two counts of felony DUI, not having an interlock device installed in his vehicle and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first, second and third degrees. He was also cited for driving on a suspended registration.

Prosecutors may choose to settle felony drunk driving cases rather than take their chances at trial. This is because trials are expensive and involve at least some risk. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may encourage prosecutors to show lenience by bringing up mitigating factors.

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