Man pleads guilty in New Year’s Day drunk driving case

A 31-year-old New York man faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced for aggravated vehicular assault in November. The Utica resident pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular assault in an Erie County courtroom on Sept. 15 as part of a prearranged plea agreement. The man originally faced a raft of charges in connection with a New Year’s Day drunk driving accident that left four people seriously injured. The accident took place on Richmond Avenue in Buffalo at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Police say that the man’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the .08 percent New York legal limit when he lost control of his vehicle and struck another car and a group of pedestrians. Media reports indicate that the man was detained by bystanders after attempting to flee the scene on foot, and police officers say that he was taken into custody after failing three field sobriety tests.

A 20-year-old woman who was a passenger in the car struck by the man’s vehicle suffered a concussion in the crash, but three pedestrians were far more seriously hurt. A 16-year-old boy lost his left leg, a 15-year-old boy suffered severe back injuries as well as a concussion and a 62-year-old man was left with two broken legs and a broken pelvis. Police say that the man was jovial and laughing when questioned about the crash.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge their clients to behave appropriately and speak courteously when questioned by the police, and this could be especially true when they are facing serious charges such as felony DWI. Attorneys could remind their clients that most criminal cases are settled before trial, and they may also point out that mitigating factors like prior good behavior and genuine remorse can be persuasive when arguing for leniency and a second chance.

Source: The Utica Observer Dispatch, “Utica man accused of striking pedestrians with vehicle”, Micaela Parker, Jan. 6, 2017

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Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.

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