A former Staten Island police officer was released from Dutchess County jail Friday after serving 10 years at Green Haven Correctional Facility. He was convicted of driving drunk and hitting three family members as they crossed a street in August 2001. The three people were killed, including a baby who was delivered after the accident by emergency Cesarean section. He was charged with four counts of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years, the maximum.
When determining your motor skills and ability to drive during a traffic stop, New York police use the same field sobriety tests, whether they believe you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of other drugs. If police believe you are under the influence of prescription drugs or narcotics they can still conduct a battery of tests to determine your ability to drive and arrest you for Driving While Ability Impaired or DWAI.
New York is one of 38 states that conduct checkpoints to canvass drivers who may be operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The other 12 states do not conduct sobriety checkpoints because they are prohibited by law, based on that state's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In Alaska, officers do not conduct checkpoints because the legislature simply has not given them authority to do so.
When drivers are found guilty of driving while under the influence in New York, even for a first misdemeanor offense, they must pay for the installation and maintenance of an interlock device. The state's Ignition Interlock Program requires the driver to provide a breathe sample before the engine will start. The device often includes a camera to provide photographic evidence of who is giving the sample.