A man from Saratoga County, NY has become the first in the state to be convicted under Vince’s Law after pleading guilty in a felony drunk driving case. In August 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation entitled Vince’s Law to punish motorists who have repeated DWI charges against them.
Vince’s Law was named after Vincent Russo, who died in 2011 when a drunk driver with four prior DWI convictions and one pending DWI charge hit him head-on. Under the new legislation, fines of up to $10,000 and a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years will be imposed for offenders with three or more DWI-related convictions within a 15 year period.
This first case under Vince’s Law arose last June when Shawn A. Gusswiller, 32, was arrested by the Saratoga Springs Police Department after driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Gusswiller refused a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol level but admitted to his prior convictions for driving under the influence. Gusswiller had four prior DWI-related convictions from 2005 to 2010 and a pending DWI in Schenectady County. He was also driving without a license at the time he was arrested, as his license had been revoked due to the previous DWI convictions.
“Repeat DWI offenders are without question one of the most serious threats to the safety of our roadways — motorists who repeatedly drive drunk have no place on our roads,” said Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen. “We are thankful that his case did not have the same tragic consequences as those giving rise to Vince’s Law, and that his law is now on the books to appropriately recognize this threat.”
Guswiller will be sentenced on Oct. 5, 2015. He is expected to serve time in state prison and face a lifetime revocation of his driver’s license. If allowed to have a driver’s license, he may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any car he owns or operates for three years after he is released from prison in order to make sure he does not get behind the wheel while under the influence.
Alcohol-related driving offenses are among the most serious of traffic crimes. Those convicted of a DWI in New York face fines, surcharges, potential prison time, and license suspension. If you have been charged with a DWI in New York, call The Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-815-3649 or fill out the form on our contact us page.