Victims of Drunk Driving Offenses State Statutes 2006

Victims of Drunk Driving

Special State Statutory Provisions for Victims of Drunk Driving

Financial Assistance


Compensation for Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Executive Law §631(2)
Allows for an eligible claimant to receive compensation from the Crime Victims Compensation Board (CVB) for out-of-pocket expenses, not exceeding $2,500, incurred for the costs of crime scene clean up. (A vehicle can be deemed a crime scene.)

Access to Justice


Vehicular Assault in the Second and First Degree – "Vasean's Law" – Penal Law §§120.03, 120.04
Criminalizes the act of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causing serious physical injury. After it is established that the driver caused serious injury or death, the statute provides a rebuttable presumption that the serious injury or death was caused by the driver's intoxication or drug impairment.

Arrest Without Warrant and Breathalyzer Test – Vehicle and Traffic Law §1194
Authorizes a police officer to arrest an individual, without a warrant, who is involved in a crash or collision as a result of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A police officer may then subject the arrested individual to a chemical test in order to determine the individual's blood alcohol level. Anyone driving a car in this State is considered to have given consent to take a chemical test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content in the blood. If within two hours of being stopped the person arrested refuses to take the chemical test, she or he faces license revocation or suspension.

Repeat Offenders – Sanctions– Vehicle Traffic Law §1193 (1-a)(a), (b)
Authorizes the court to sentence repeat offenders, convicted of an alcohol or drug related offense, to perform service for a public or not-for-profit organization, association or institution, in addition to or as an alternative to other penalties including imprisonment.

Victim Impact Program – Vehicle Traffic Law §1193 (1)(f), (1-a)(a), (b)
Authorizes the court to require a driver, convicted of an alcohol or drug related offense, to attend a session of a "victim impact program," which includes presentations dealing with the impact and consequences of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Ignition Interlock Device Program – Vehicle and Traffic Law §§1198, 1193(1-a)(c); Penal Law 65.10(2)(k-1)
Creates an ignition interlock device program in certain counties of the State (Albany, Erie, Nassau, Onondaga, Monroe, Westchester and Suffolk.) However, other counties may implement such program or courts may require installation of device as a condition of probation. As a condition of probation or conditional discharge, a court may require anyone convicted of an alcohol-related offense in violation of a traffic law to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in any vehicle owned or operated by the defendant, if the court determines that such a condition is necessary to ensure public safety. Further, a judge is required to order the installation of an interlock device, for the period of probation or license revocation, on each vehicle owned by an offender who was convicted of driving while intoxicated within the preceding five years. The interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting if after the motorist breathes into it the device determines that the blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit.

Victim Assistance Fee and Additional Surcharge – Vehicle and Traffic Law §§1809, 1809-c
Imposes a crime victim assistance fee as well as a mandatory surcharge upon a person convicted of a traffic offense, subject to some exceptions. A person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony charge for driving under the influence would be assessed a higher victim assistance fee and mandatory surcharge, as outlined in the statute, as well as an additional surcharge of $25. These revenues support compensation and victim assistance grants of CVB.

Dram Shop Law – Compensation from Unlawful Vendors of Alcohol – General Obligations Law §11-101
Affords victims of drunk driving the right to sue anyone who unlawfully sold or helped obtain alcohol for the intoxicated person who committed the crime or violation. If victim dies, family can sue driver. If driver dies, victim or family can sue his or her estate.



Drivers' Education in Schools – Education Law §806-a
Requires school districts providing drivers' education courses to include instruction on the hazards, consequences and penalties of impaired driving.