Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Clearing UP the Confusion of BWI (boating while intoxicated) Tiffany's Law

The last big BWI (boating while intoxicated) law that passed in New York State was in 2016. It was called "Tiffany's Law" so named after a child named Tiffany that was killed by a drunken boat operator.

What is Tiffany's Law as it relates to BWI (boating while intoxicated)?

Does Tiffany's Law change any of the DMV rules and laws as they relate to BWI driving privileges?

Tiffany's Law Links All New York DWI, DWAI, and BWI Offenses

Before Tiffany's Law (November of 2016) any first time New York State BWI (boating while intoxicated) offense stood alone. This was true even if you had many DWI and DWAI charges previously. Tiffany's Law REQUIRES judges and prosecutors to look at a person's complete DWI, DWAI, and BWI history when punishing for the current boating while intoxicated incident.

The Reason for Tiffany's Law was a Multiple DWI Offender 

That was the reason for Tiffany's Law in the first place. The drunken boater that caused the accident that killed Tiffany Heitkamp had prior DWI history. BUT this prior DWI history was NOT taken into consideration for his sentencing. In other words the BWI punishment did not encompass ALL the prior alcohol fueled bad behavior.

Tiffany's Law Does NOT Affect Driving Privileges

Many people are under the mistaken belief that Tiffany's BWI law affects CAR driving privileges. This is not entirely accurate. BWI affects boating privileges NOT CAR driving privileges. There is new New York law in the pipeline awaiting approval that will add further penalties to BWI but that has not come to fruition as yet.

Tiffany's Law Will NOT Enhance a Current BWI from Prior DWI

Another mistaken notion is that Tiffany's law will take prior DWI or DWAI drugs (misdemeanor offenses) from the past 10 years into consideration to ENHANCE a BWI to a felony. This is NOT true at present. This is true for car based DWI and DWAI drugs based offenses BUT not boating offenses as of this date.

The reason for increased penalties for BWI is that a study found that almost 25% of all boating fatalities over the past decade in New York State involved either drugs or alcohol.

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