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New York Legislature Increases DWI Penalties

Posted on August 1, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

ALBANY, N.Y. — Two years after a flower girl from Long Beach and a limousine driver from Farmingdale were killed by a drunk driver, a bill stemming from the case that establishes stiffer penalties for intoxicated motorists has become law.

Under its provisions, vehicular homicide carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and aggravated vehicular assault, 15 years. Both apply to offenders who have or did one of the following: a blood-alcohol level of .18 or higher, a prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years, causing injury or death to more than one person, or driving with a suspended or revoked license.

The impetus for the new law were difficulties prosecuting the killer of seven-year-old Katie Flynn and Stanley Rabinowitz, 59, both of whom perished July 2, 2005. They died returning from a wedding when an intoxicated Martin Heidgen, 25, drove his truck the wrong way on the Meadowbrook Parkway, slamming into the limo and severely injuring others.

Heidgen, of Valley Stream, was convicted last year of second-degree murder and is serving 18 years to life in prison.

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), who sponsored the bill with Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick), said, "I hope through education and exposure of the consequences, that people will be more aware not to drink and drive."

Source: NY Newsday

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