Everyone on the road is a potential victim when someone chooses to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, including the drunk driver’s passengers. In New York, DWI charges can lead to prison time, license suspension and other severe consequences, especially when the driver’s actions result in fatalities. Adults under the age of 21 charged with DWI may have fewer options to combat a damaging criminal record and should focus on building a strong defense.
Readers in Poughkeepsie may know of a fatal crash in the early hours of Feb. 16 that involved three young women. The 20-year-old driver was traveling along Route 20 when her car allegedly crossed into oncoming vehicles before colliding with a guard rail. The car flipped over after going down an embankment.
Reports say the West Sand Lake woman has been charged with drunk driving. Two female passengers, who are reported to be related to the driver, were also in the car. The crash reportedly caused an 18-year-old to be fatally thrown from the car’s back seat. The driver and a 19-year-old survived after being ejected from the front seats.
Sources suggest the driver and the 18-year-old victim were not wearing seatbelts. The driver and the surviving passenger were taken to a hospital in Albany. While law enforcement officials indicated the women are likely to recover, the driver’s injuries appear to be serious.
Underage drinking may seem trivial in the moment, but when someone drives with impaired faculties, it may take mere seconds to lose control of the vehicle and create hazards for others. Causing the death of another person not only increases the severity of the crime but also heightens the emotional trauma the driver suffers. To prevent a situation that is already mentally draining from becoming a legal burden, anyone facing underage drinking charges should seek legal advice in order to fully understand New York’s DWI laws and to prepare an effective criminal defense.
Source: timesunion.com, “DWI charge in fatal crash,” Kristen V. Brown, Feb. 16, 2013