Under New York law, any driving offense involving impairment caused by alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. An accident that involves such impairment and the death of an individual can subject the driver to charges of committing a serious felony, such as vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide. A recent fatality in Putnam County involving DWI charges again demonstrates the seriousness of such allegations.
On May 5, a cyclist in Patterson was struck by an automobile. Emergency responders found the cyclist to be unresponsive, and they administered CPR. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver was arrested and examined at the scene by a sheriff’s deputy specially trained to spot the influence of drugs. The driver was arrested for DWI and taken to a nearby hospital for a blood draw. He was charged with driving while impaired by drugs, and additional charges are expected to be filed. Police allege that the driver swerved off the road and hit the cyclist on the shoulder.
Based upon the circumstances reported by the police, the driver can be charged with several felonies, including vehicular manslaughter in the first or second degree or aggravated vehicular homicide. The exact charges must await a determination of the driver’s physical condition and the degree to which he was impaired by drugs.
Anyone who is charged with causing injury or death to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs faces sizable fines and a possible jail sentence. Consultation with an attorney who specializes in defending such cases can provide a helpful evaluation of the facts of the case and an estimate of the chances of reducing the charges or obtaining an outright acquittal.
Source: patch.com, “Bicyclist Killed on Fair Street; Driver Charged with DUI, Driving on the Shoulder,” Lanning Taliaferro, May 6, 2015