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Prior DWI now factor in sentencing for boating while intoxicated

ALBANY – Prior driving while intoxicated convictions will now be taken into consideration when judges sentence individuals convicted of boating while drunk.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday signed a bill sponsored by two central New York legislators that requires judges to consider any drunk driving convictions during the past five years for individuals being sentenced to at least 30 days in jail for boating while intoxicated.

More serious drunk boating sentences require a longer look-back of driving while intoxicated convictions – thereby providing for longer sentences.

The law grew out of several well-publicized cases, including the 2006 death of a Syracuse woman who was a passenger in a boat driven by an intoxicated man. The court was only able to treat the convicted boater as if it was his first offense despite having a record of DWI offenses.

“This new law closes this loophole and will help keep these dangerous individuals off our roads and waterways,’’ Cuomo said in a written statement.

The legislation takes effect November 1.

In another bill signing Tuesday, Cuomo approved legislation requiring a veterinarian to determine if dogs and cats are medically suitable for adoption once they complete their use as research subjects at higher education institutions. If so determined, the animals would then be placed with humane societies or shelter organizations for adoption. The bill is intended to reduce the numbers of research animals being euthanized.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the Assembly, called it the “Beagle Freedom Bill,’’ beagles are popular dogs in many research facilities.


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