Motorists who cause serious injuries or who cause fatalities while behind the wheel could find themselves facing criminal charges and may need an Albany criminal defense lawyer to help them fight against accusations of wrongdoing.
Soon, those who are accused of certain traffic offenses will definitely need to take their charges seriously and will likely need a lawyer. That's because the state of New York is considering making the laws tougher so those who do not have a driver's license face harsher penalties if they drive without one and end up killing or seriously injuring one or more victims in an auto accident.
The legislation that has been proposed in the state of New York was introduced by Senator Michael Gianaris. The bill would change the current law so it becomes a Class E felony offense to cause someone to suffer serious injury in an auto accident if you were driving with a suspended license or If you were driving with a revoked license.
If you were driving with a suspended or revoked license and you became involved in an accident that caused death, you could be charged with a Class D felony. The Class D felony offense that you would be charged with in this scenario would be a newly-created crime that is called vehicular homicide.
Under the current law, if the bill does not pass, motorists who are not licensed and who cause auto accidents are typically sentenced only to probation. Drivers in New York typically are charged with misdemeanors for driving with no license, and they only face felony charges in the event they are given 10 separate license suspension on different dates.
Lawmakers, including Gianaris do not believe that the existing penalties are harsh enough to effectively punish offenders or to act as an effective deterrent.
Gianaris was inspired to push for this new legislation in response to a fatal car accident in New York that resulted in the death of a 13-year-old boy. The young man was riding his bicycle when he was hit and killed by a truck driver who did not have a license.
The truck driver was charged with just a misdemeanor offense for driving while his license was suspended – even though the truck driver had a total of 9 license suspensions and had only been charged with misdemeanors because New York's laws were weak, not because he didn't deserve harsher consequences.
The proposed bill was passed unanimously by the senate, so there is a strong chance that it will continue to advance and will one day make those who have done wrong accountable to more stringent consequences.
An Albany criminal defense lawyer can represent those defendants accused of driving without a license and causing an accident in the process, so you should give us a call to find out more.