Relates to the authority to impose a sentence of a fine and conditional discharge upon conviction for the offense of driving while ability impaired.
Ayes (58): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Young, Zeldin
Excused (3): Hannon, Martins, Valesky
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to authority to impose a sentence of a fine and conditional discharge upon conviction for the offense of driving while ability impaired
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 amends the Penal Law to authorize the imposition of a fine and conditional discharge upon conviction f9r the offense of driving while ability impaired.
Section 1192(1) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle while "the person's ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol." Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(1). Violation of this provision is a traffic infraction and punishable by a fine in an amount between $300 and $500 or by imprisonment of 15 days, or by both a fine and imprisonment. See Vehicle and Traffic Law §1193(1)(a).
Section 60.20 of the Penal Law sets forth the sentences that are to be imposed upon the conviction of a traffic infraction. The sentences are: a conditional discharge; an unconditional discharge; a fine or imprisonment, or both; or a sentence of intermittent imprisonment. Penal Law §60.20. While the Vehicle and Traffic Law expressly prohibits the court from imposing a conditional discharge without also imposing a fine for any violation of its provisions, see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1193(1)(e), section 60.20 does not authorize the imposition of a fine and conditional discharge for the conviction of a traffic infraction.
A conditional discharge is a sentence intended to rehabilitate a person, convicted of an offense, by discharging the applicable penalty (i.e., imprisonment or probation) on condition that a person performs certain acts which the court deems reasonably necessary to insure that the he or she will lead a law-abiding life. See Penal Law §§65.05 and 65.10. Among other things, a conditional discharge may require that the person undergo medical or psychiatric treatment or participate in an alcohol or substance abuse program. See Penal Law §65.10(d) and (e). Because the discharge may be conditioned upon the person's receipt of treatment or counseling, the conditional discharge is an extremely useful tool for addressing the substance abuse problem which may underlie an individual defendant's conviction for driving while impaired.
Finally, authorizing a court to impose a conditional discharge upon a defendant convicted of the offense of driving while impaired is
consistent with other provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which authorize mandatory treatment for substance abuse for persons who violate its provisions. See Vehicle and Traffic Law §1198-a(2)(b) (requiring persons convicted of driving while intoxicated to receive treatment).
This measure would have no fiscal impact upon the State. It would take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None. New proposal.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6673 IN SENATE March 8, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis- tration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to authority to impose a sentence of a fine and conditional discharge upon conviction for the offense of driving while ability impaired THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of subdivision 1 of section 60.20 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 477 of the laws of 1970, are amended and a new paragraph (e) is added to read as follows: (c) A fine or a sentence to a term of imprisonment, or both, as prescribed in and authorized by the provision that defines the infrac- tion;
[or](d) A sentence of intermittent imprisonment, as provided in article eighty-five [.]; OR (E) UPON A CONVICTION UNDER SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW, A FINE OR A SENTENCE TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH AS PRESCRIBED IN THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW, AND A PERIOD OF CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE, AS PROVIDED IN ARTICLE SIXTY-FIVE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14135-01-2