Pequannock Township Urged To Support Stiffer Fines And Penalties For DWIs
13-year-old David Heim from Sussex County and Ralph Politi Jr., a community activist and business owner from East Hanover, both lost their lives to drunken drivers in different incidents.
Politi was killed by a drunken driver who swerved out of her lane and hit him as he stood by his pickup truck. The driver faced first-degree aggravated manslaughter charges and second-degree vehicular homicide.
In Heim’s case, the drunk driver served only 30 days in jail, which is the maximum imprisonment term for a first-offense drunken driving charge under New Jersey law.
The new bill has been named in honor of the two victims, and is called Ralph and David’s Law.
The legislation was sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon and Mila Jasey who were in favor of harsher penalties for driving while intoxicated cases which resulted in vehicular homicide.
The towns of Roxbury and Madison have also reached out to Pequannock Township for a resolution supporting the bill. The council already started looking into that in its meeting held on 27 September.
Officials are also looking at supporting these towns in this case, even though they don’t like to craft ordinances that are generated by other governing bodies.
Assembly Democrat McKeon said, “This legislation will help close that loophole and send a stronger message that we will not tolerate this type of negligent and reckless behavior.”
According to the new bill, drunken drivers who cause someone’s death will face stiffer penalties and will have to serve a longer jail sentence.
“Criminal homicide would constitute strict liability vehicular homicide when it is caused by negligently driving a motor vehicle or operating a boat in violation of the state’s drunk driving laws. Strict liability vehicular homicide would be a crime of the third degree with no presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders. Third-degree crimes generally are punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both,” the Assembly website stated.
News Source: www.NorthJersey.com