Authorizes the suspension of driver's licenses for unjustified failure to attend court on charge of underage possession of alcohol or to comply with court conditions after conviction for such offense.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to authorizing suspension of driver's licenses for unjustified failure to attend court on charge of underage possession of alcohol or comply with court conditions after conviction for such offense
This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her Local Courts Advisory Committee.
This measure would amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, to authorize a court to suspend a driver's license where the holder fails timely to appear before the court, pay a fine, complete an alcohol awareness program or complete community service associated with a charge of under-age possession of alcohol.
Years of judicial experience, and experience in the broader law enforcement and child-welfare communities, demonstrates that a charge of under-age possession of alcohol may be the first and best opportunity to avert more serious and potentially life-threatening alcohol-related offenses. When defendants less than age 21 are charged with under-age possession of alcohol with intent to consume under Alcoholic Beverage Control Law section 65-c, authorized sentences of completing alcohol awareness programs and community service offer potential judicial remedies to help deter drunk driving and other more serious offenses.
Unfortunately, many of these defendants ignore their appearance tickets or, if convicted, they ignore the very sentences calculated to discourage more serious offenses. Under current law, however, there is no practical redress: statute allows no other remedy besides contempt, which is a resource-intensive path that may lead to incarceration inapposite for these offenders. For that reason, underage defendants flaunt the law: many do so precisely because they know there is no negative consequence for ignoring the charge or sentence, which compounds their disrespect for the law and encourages further offenses. The Internet is rife with advice for teens that there is no negative consequence for ignoring appearance tickets or court-imposed penalties for underage drinking. Given these dynamics, it is little surprise that in some courts, the scoff rate on underage alcohol possession exceeds 30%. These dynamics particularly manifest after proms, concerts, festivals and other large gatherings of teens, which expose teens to not only alcohol but also the risk of drunk driving. Without remedies for alcohol-possession violations, too often the result is drunk driving, injuries and preventable deaths.
While fully cognizant that underage offenders are minors for whom our law must take an especially measured approach, New York State must address the perversion by which courts can do little or nothing when persons charged with underage possession of alcohol fail to appear or complete court-ordered sentences. Their impunity must stop not only to inculcate respect for the law and the courts generally, but also to help prevent more serious offenses and the risks to life that these more serious offenses entail.
Accordingly, this measure would authorize courts to suspend driving privileges for defendants charged with under-age possession of alcohol with intent to consume under Alcoholic Beverage Control Law section 65-c, who either do not appear in court or who are convicted and fail timely to satisfy their sentences. The suspension would be on the same terms of notice and delayed implementation as other suspensions under the Vehicle and Traffic Law. This limited approach, rather than proposing to increase penalties or expose these defendants to incarceration, seeks only to bring these defendants before the court to answer charges and honor sentences that are calculated to educate them and prevent potentially life-threatening behaviors. Because the most effective tool for the underage offender is to suspend driving privileges associated with the offender's maturity and independence, that result is the only one this measure contemplates.
This measure represents an amended version of S.3188 and A.5722 of 2012. Those prior measures also would have applied the license-suspension remedy to violations of Penal Law 221.05 (unlawful possession of marijuana). The current measure, by contrast, focuses exclusively on underage possession of alcohol with intent to consume.
This measure, which would have no fiscal impact on the State or any locality, would take effect on the first day of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
Legislative History: None. New proposal.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4106 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 8, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. FUSCHILLO -- (at request of the Office of Court Administration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to authorizing suspension of driver's licenses for unjustified failure to attend court on charge of underage possession of alcohol or comply with court conditions after conviction for such offense THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph k of subdivision 3 of section 510 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 124 of the laws of 1992, is amended and a new subparagraph l is added to read as follows: k. for a period of up to ninety days because of the conviction of the holder of the offenses of menacing as defined in section 120.15 of the penal law, where such offense was committed against a traffic enforce- ment agent employed by the city of New York or the city of Buffalo while such agent was enforcing or attempting to enforce the traffic regu- lations of such city
[.]; L. FOR FAILING TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COURT OR PAY A FINE OR TO COMPLETE AN ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM OR COMPLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE IMPOSED BY THE COURT PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION SIXTY-FIVE-C OF THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW. S 2. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 4-a of section 510 of the vehicle and traffic law, as added by section 10 of part J of chapter 62 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: (a) Upon receipt of a court notification of the failure of a person to appear within sixty days of the return date or new subsequent adjourned date, pursuant to an appearance ticket charging said person with a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter (except one for park- ing, stopping, or standing), of any violation of the tax law or OFEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09089-01-3 S. 4106 2
SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION SIXTY-FIVE-C OF THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW OR of the transportation law regulating traffic or of any lawful ordinance or regulation made by a local or public authority, relating to traffic (except one for parking, stopping, or standing) or the failure to pay a fine imposed by a court, OR IN THE CASE OF A VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION SIXTY-FIVE-C OF THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW, THE FAILURE TO COMPLETE AN ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM OR COMPLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE IMPOSED BY THE COURT AS A SENTENCE FOR SUCH VIOLATION, the commissioner or his or her agent may suspend the driver's license or privileges of such person pending receipt of notice from the court that such person has appeared in response to such appear- ance ticket or has paid such fine OR COMPLETED SUCH ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM OR COMPLETED SUCH COMMUNITY SERVICE. Such suspension shall take effect no less than thirty days from the day upon which notice thereof is sent by the commissioner to the person whose driver's license or privileges are to be suspended. Any suspension issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (j-l) of subdivision two of section five hundred three of this
[chapter]TITLE. S 3. Subparagraph (i) of paragraph (j-1) of subdivision 2 of section 503 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by section 3 of part PP of chapter 59 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: (i) When a license issued pursuant to this article, or a privilege of operating a motor vehicle or of obtaining such a license, has been suspended based upon a failure to answer an appearance ticket or a summons or failure to pay a fine, penalty or mandatory surcharge, pursu- ant to subdivision three of section two hundred twenty-six, subdivision four of section two hundred twenty-seven [, subdivision four-a of section five hundred ten]or subdivision five-a of section eighteen hundred nine of this chapter, OR UPON A FAILURE TO ANSWER AN APPEARANCE TICKET OR SUMMONS, PAY A FINE, COMPLETE AN ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM OR COMPLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE IMPOSED BY A COURT PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION FOUR-A OF SECTION FIVE HUNDRED TEN OF THIS TITLE, such suspension shall remain in effect until a termination of a suspension fee of seventy dollars is paid to the court or tribunal that initiated the suspension of such license or privilege. In no event may the aggregate of the fees imposed by an individual court pursuant to this paragraph for the termination of all suspensions that may be terminated as a result of a person's answers, appearances or payments made in such cases pending before such individual court exceed four hundred dollars. For the purposes of this paragraph, the various locations of the administrative tribunal estab- lished under article two-A of this chapter shall be considered an indi- vidual court. S 4. Subdivision 3 of section 65-c of the alcoholic beverage control law, as amended by chapter 137 of the laws of 2001, is amended to read as follows: 3. Any person who unlawfully possesses an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume may be summoned before and examined by a court having jurisdiction of that charge; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall authorize, or be construed to authorize, a peace officer as defined in subdivision thirty-three of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law or a police officer as defined in subdivision thirty-four of section 1.20 of such law to arrest a person who unlawfully possesses an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume. If a determination is made sustaining such charge the court may impose a fine not exceeding fifty dollars and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program established pursuant to section 19.25 of the mental hygiene law and/or an appropri-S. 4106 3
ate amount of community service not to exceed thirty hours. IN ADDITION TO ANY FINE, ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM AND/OR COMMUNITY SERVICE IMPOSED BY THE COURT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THE COURT MAY SUSPEND THE DRIV- ER'S LICENSE OF ANY PERSON WHO FAILS TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COURT, PAY A FINE, COMPLETE AN ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM OR COMPLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION WITHIN THE PERIOD OF TIME ESTABLISHED BY THE COURT. SUCH SUSPENSION SHALL BE MADE UPON NOTICE TO SUCH PERSON AND SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL SUCH PERSON APPEARS IN COURT, PAYS SUCH FINE OR COMPLETES SUCH PROGRAM OR COMMUNITY SERVICE TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT. S 5. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.