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New Jersey DWI Legislation Would Increase Penalties For Drunk Drivers Who Cause Fatalities

By Evan Levow
 on 1010/2020/16161616
 in the category:
Fatal DWI Accident

New Jersey State Senator Steve Oroho (R-24) recently sponsored a piece of DWI legislation that would increase the penalties faced by individuals who are charged with causing a fatality while driving under the influence in the State of New Jersey.

The proposed bill was first introduced on May 12th, 2016 and was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee where it passed on a 69-0-0 vote.

What To Know About ‘Ralph & David’s Law’

The legislation (Senate Bill No. 2423), which is known as “Ralph and David's Law,” was named in honor of Ralph Politi, Jr. and David Heim - two New Jersey residents who died after being hit by drunk drivers.

The new bill would create a new third-degree crime of “strict liability vehicular homicide” for individuals who cause a death while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

A third-degree crime is punishable with a prison sentence of between 3 to 5 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

Under this legislation, a defendant’s act of driving while intoxicated would be considered the cause of death so long as the death was not too remote in its occurrence, or too dependent on the conduct of another person, to have a just bearing on the defendant’s liability.

Additionally, the bill asserts that it shall not be a defense that the decedent contributed to his or her own death by negligent conduct or operation of a motor vehicle.

The proposed bill also specifies that the presumption of non-imprisonment that usually applies to first offenders convicted of a third-degree crime would not be applicable to individuals convicted of strict liability vehicular manslaughter.

"Under current law, it's simply too difficult to prosecute and punish a drunk driver who kills someone to an extent that matches the magnitude and impact of their crime," Senator Oroho said in a statement regarding the bill. "This legislation updates our vehicular homicide laws to ensure that those who kill while driving drunk or high can be held accountable."

Levow DWI Law Defends Drivers In New Jersey

Were you or a loved one arrested on drunk driving charges in the State of New Jersey?

The team of DWI defense attorneys at Levow DWI Law have been successfully defending the rights of drivers arrested on DUI charges in New Jersey for decades. We are committed to teaching drivers about their rights after a DUI arrest and protecting those rights.

Our award-winning DWI defense lawyers have obtained favorable outcomes for our clients in the most difficult of DWI cases. Contact us today for a free consultation with our legal team to learn more about your legal options after a DWI arrest.

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Evan Levow
Date Published: October 20, 2016
Evan Levow is the managing partner of Levow DWI Law, which is a Tier 1 DUI/DWI Best Law Firm. Evan Levow has argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on landmark DWI breath testing cases such as State vs. Chun. He is also the President Emeritus of the 600 member DUI Defense Lawyers Association.
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