New York law imposes significant penalties on a person who is convicted of causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An off-duty New York City police office now faces such drunk driving charges in connection with a recent fatal accident in Queens.

The officer, who was off the clock at the time of the accident, was driving south on the Van Wyck Expressway when his Mercedes Benz allegedly rammed into the rear end of a Honda Accord. The Mercedes pushed the Honda onto the shoulder and then into a light pole. All three persons in the Honda were seriously injured. The driver died two days after the collision, and both passengers remain hospitalized and are being treated for serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The driver, her sister, and the sister’s boyfriend had been celebrating the sister’s birthday on the evening of the accident.

The police officer was initially charged with vehicular assault and refusing a breath test. When the driver died, the DUI charges were ungraded to vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter. According to officers in the scene, the man appeared to be drunk, but he refused to submit to breathalyzer, drug and field sobriety tests.

The defendant in this case faces serious charges, but he is, like all criminal defendants, entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar serious Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges may wish to consult a lawyer with experience such cases. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence in the case and an estimate of the likelihood of the changes of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or outright acquittal.

Source: DNA Info, Drunk NYPD Officer Charged With Manslaughter After Deadly Crash