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Breaking News: New York Drunk Drivers Can Be Convicted of Murder.November 21, 2013
New York State’s highest court has just raised the potential penalties faced by a drunk driver who kills someone. In most cases, the highest charge a drunk driver may face is Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – which only carries a possible minimum period of imprisonment of one year and a maximum of up to 25 years for a first time offender. When a drunk driver is found to have acted with depraved indifference to human life, however, the Court of Appeals has found that the driver may be convicted of Murder in the Second Degree, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life for first time offenders.
For someone to be convicted of depraved indifference to human life, they must be shown to be acting with utter disregard for the life of others. While the Court of Appeals noted that this may be rare in DWI cases, it found in three separate cases that when the defendant was intoxicated but there is evidence that he or she was doing things like driving down a street the wrong way at a high rate of speed, the jury properly convicted the drunk driver of Murder in the Second Degree.
Steve Boyd, PC is a Buffalo Personal Injury law firm seeking civil justice against drunk drivers who injure innocent people.