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New York Traffic Violations Legal Blog

Truck driver accused of drunk driving after crash

New York State Police troopers charged a truck driver with drunk driving after an accident on the Wantagh State Parkway in East Meadow on March 8. Police say that the 29-year-old Georgia man hit an overpass at the Hempstead Turnpike while driving southbound in his tractor-trailer. The accident was reported at around 10:40 p.m.

When police arrived at the scene of the accident, they reportedly found pieces of the accused man's truck that had been scattered along the shoulder of the road. Shortly afterwards, police discovered the rest of the truck and its driver. While investigating the crash scene and the driver, police decided that they believed the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him.

What New York law says about texting and driving

New York state law forbids drivers from operating a motor vehicle while using a cellphone or other portable mobile device. Drivers are not allowed to have a conversation, send a text message or transmit images while a car is in motion. An exception is typically made for those who are calling 911 for assistance. Individuals who are found to be in violation of the state's cellphone law could pay a fine as well as have points added to their licenses.

Those who accrue 11 or more points in 18 months could have their licenses suspended. For a first offense, an individual could be subject to a fine of between $50 and $200. For a second offense that occurrs within 18 months of the first offense, a driver could pay a fine of up to $250. A third subsequent offense within 18 months would result in a fine of at least $50 and as much as $450.

New York DUI arrests down

Drunk driving remains a major problem across the United States with approximately 29 people dying in alcohol-related crashes each day around the nation. However, a combination approach has helped many cities in New York drive DUI arrests down.

For example, Fulton County has seen a steady decline in misdemeanor drunk driving arrests over the past decade. In 2009, law enforcement agencies took 281 drivers into custody for alleged misdemeanor drunk driving offenses. In 2018, they took only 167 drivers into custody. Misdemeanor drunk driving arrests are also down statewide. In 2009, New York law enforcement agencies made 45,902 misdemeanor DUI arrests. By 2018, that number had fallen to 30,403.

New traffic violations law could lead to vehicle confiscation

In a bustling city like New York, traffic issues are often unavoidable. Law enforcement takes multiple steps in its attempts to catch drivers who violate the law. An issue of specific concern is reckless driving. Drivers can face harsh penalties for these allegations. They have the right to lodge a defense and avoid the worst consequences.

The City Council has passed new legislation called the Reckless Driver Accountability Act that will increase the punishments for drivers with a certain number of traffic violations. Under this law, if a driver accumulates five tickets for running red lights or 15 violations for speeding in school zones within a single year, a safe driving course will be required. Those who do not comply might have their vehicles seized and impounded. Drivers whose vehicles are taken can recover it after taking the course.

Man faces felony DWI charge after fleeing police

A 32-year-old man is facing a raft of charges including a count of felony drunk driving after allegedly fleeing the scene of a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway on the night of Jan. 24. The Syracuse resident is also charged with operating an unlicensed vehicle after a records check revealed that the license plates on his car were stolen. He is being detained at the Onondaga County Justice Center and is scheduled to be arraigned in the Town of Van Buren Justice Court.

The chain of events began when a New York State Police trooper pulled the man's vehicle over near Van Buren at approximately 10:20 p.m. for an undisclosed motor vehicle violation. The man's car allegedly struck the trooper's police vehicle as it left the scene at a high rate of speed. A brief pursuit ensued that ended when the man's vehicle struck a median as he attempted to exit the Thruway at Exit 39. Troopers took the man into custody at the scene and determined that he was impaired by alcohol. The man is said to have refused to provide a breath sample.

Mother of Lindsay Lohan accused of hit-and-run drunk driving

Dina Lohan is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident on the evening of Jan. 11. The crash took place in the parking lot of a New York mall according to media reports. Lohan, who is the mother of actress Lindsay Lohan, allegedly refused to submit to a breath test when confronted by police officers at her Long Island home. She entered not guilty pleas to the charges against her during a Jan. 11 arraignment hearing.

The chain of events that led to Lohan's arrest began at about 7 p.m. in the parking lot of a Merrick shopping center. The driver of a Honda SUV says that a Mercedes struck the rear of his vehicle and then left the scene. The driver then called 911 and followed the Mercedes. The driver and police caught up with the Mercedes outside a nearby residence, and officers say that Lohan was behind the wheel while the engine was running.

What are field sobriety tests?

When assessing a driver for drunk driving, a law enforcement officer may use any number of tools to determine if an arrest is warranted. They may ask a driver to blow into a breathalyzer or they may use observational assessments to determine if the driver is impaired. These assessments are known as field sobriety tests and they generally involve several standardized assessments.

One common field sobriety test is the one-leg stand. This self-explanatory test requires a person to stand on one foot without setting the other foot down. They are required to hold their balance without stepping out of the hold; doing so may indicate some level of impairment.

What is New York's move over law?

When a driver sees flashing lights ahead of them on a highway, they may expect to face slow-downs and delays. They should also expect to have to change lanes, especially if the cause of the flashing lights is an accident or other emergency. In New York, when a driver sees lights ahead of them, they may have to follow the rules of the state's move over law.

The move over law applies to any roadway obstruction involving construction, emergency vehicles, tow trucks and others. When a driver sees lights, reflectors or other indicators that the roadway may be obstructed, they must first reduce their speed and observe what is occurring. Once they have assessed their situation, they should be prepared to move out of the way of the obstruction by changing lanes.

"Innocent until proven guilty" applies to speeding violations

Many of us are familiar with the concept that people who have been accused of crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Maybe we only know this as a phrase police use in television shows, but it is in fact a very important legal principle. It means that once a person has been accused of a crime, they have the right to due process and to defend themselves against the charges. This principle applies to all kinds of crimes.

Some speeding violations don't fall under criminal law, but the basic principle applies to speeding violations as well.

Texting while driving at issue in homicide case

Lawmakers in every state have struggled to come up with ways to address the threat of drivers looking at their phones instead of at the road ahead of them. In New York, using a handheld telephone or portable electronic device while driving is illegal and punishable by steep fines and other penalties. New Jersey has a similar law, and police in that state have handed out more than 10,000 citations for cellphone use and other distracted driving over the past year.

Recently, New Jersey put a woman on trial for vehicular homicide after allegedly a pedestrian was killed in an accident the prosecution argues was the result of texting while driving. News reports said this is the first texting-and-driving homicide case in the state's history.

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