Get a second felony DWI, lose your vehicle

Posted at 5:38 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 08:06:05-04

"Drink and Drive, Lose Your Ride," it's the slick title for a new campaign being rolled out by the Erie County District Attorney's Office and local law enforcement.

The policy calls for confiscating a person's car following a second felony DWI arrest.

To be charged with felony DWI, the driver has to have any one of the following:

  • Prior DWI conviction within 10 years
  • 3 DWI convictions in 15 years
  • Or has been arrested for violating Leandra's Law by driving drunk with a child under the age of 15

"Unfortunately, we see too many DWI offenders, even those who have had their driver's license taken away, still get back behind the wheel drunk, said acting District Attorney Michael Flaherty. "This new policy goes a step further in keeping the repeat offenders from putting themselves and others in danger on the roads."

According to Flaherty, the aim of the policy is to act as a deterrent to drunk driving, "by taking away the defendant's instrument to carry out the crime."

Here's how the new policy works - vehicles owned or primarily driven by offenders may be confiscated, subject to forfeiture, then auctioned off by the county.  According to the DA's office, proceeds from the auction would be split between DWI enforcement and the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services.

"There are still people out there who repeatedly drink and drive," said Flaherty. "This new policy adds more serious consequences and helps drives home the message that it will not be tolerated."

And, the timing of this new policy is no coincidence, it's intended to coincide with the upcoming busy Labor Day travel weekend.

The Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Orchard Park Police Departments will be using this new policy, as well as the Erie County Sheriff's Office.  The DA hopes to take it county-wide by the end of the year.