St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain says her office is changing established policy and will now prosecute drunk and drugged drivers to the fullest extent the law.
Rain says her office will no longer reduce charges for drunk drivers whose blood alcohol content is .1 percent or higher. She says felony driving while intoxicated charges will also not be reduced.
Only first-time offenders with a BAC of .10 percent or less may see their charges reduced after completion of alcohol and, or drug treatment, according to Rain.
In a news release, Rain said her office is taking a hard stance on arrests for DWI and DWAI Drugs. She cited a personal experience as one of the reasons for the new policy.
“Over the course of thirty years in the criminal justice system I have worked with many victims of crimes. This has affected me both professionally and personally,” she said. “Thirty years ago, when I became a police officer, my very first act after receiving my uniform was attending my partner’s funeral. Officer Robert “Rob” Parkhurst was killed in a head-on crash with a drunk driver. I have seen firsthand the devastation this drunk driver caused the Parkhurst family.”
Rain says drunk driving continues to be a problem in St. Lawrence County.
“Unfortunately, this type of life altering event continues today. Since the first of the year, the District Attorney’s Office of St. Lawrence County has handled four homicides caused by drunk or drugged drivers. Four families have lost loved ones whose deaths were entirely preventable,” she said. “Even when a victim survives a drunk or drugged driver the physical injuries sustained provide not only pain and suffering but emotional distress, financial hardships and loss of careers.”
To honor Parkhurst, Rain says she is creating “Rob’s Policy.”
“There will be no reductions for anyone who has a blood alcohol content greater than .1 percent BAC, felonies or Leandra Law arrests. First time offenders whose BAC is .10 or less have an opportunity for reductions after completion of alcohol and/or drug treatment,” Rain says.
“Rob’s Policy will provide a strong message of severe consequences to ones liberty, license or finances. It is my hope that people who chose to become intoxicated will also chose not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. The inconvenience of having a friend or taxi drive them home is fleeting compared to the consequences to other innocent drivers in their path.”