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A bill called Tiffany Heitkamp’s Law passed the New York State legislature last week, which will require state judges to consider earlier drunk driving and boating offenses when deciding on a sentence.

The law is named after a 20 year old woman who died in a drunk boating crash near Old Forge NY in the Adirondacks in 2007. In the crash, the boat driver had several past drunk driving offenses on his record, but the judge could not take them into consideration because they happened in a car rather than a boat.


In the crash, which occurred in November 2006, the 19 foot speed boat crashed into Alger Island State Campground. It was going so fast that it left the water, flew over the shore and crashed into some trees 150 feet from the water.

The woman’s mother has been advocating for years for a New York law that would require judges to take every past drunk driving into consideration when considering the length of a jail or prison term. The boat driver in the case received a 2-6 year prison sentence.

She noted recently after the law was passed that people should have the same mentality when driving a boat as a car. That is, they should make sure that they never drink before they get behind the wheel, and pay the same attention to driving just as in a car on the road.

Our drunk driving and boating attorneys in Virginia often see many tragic boating accidents involving alcohol, given our state’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and other bodies of water. Whether the drunk driving accident happens on the road or on the water, anyone injured by a drunk driver should sue them in civil court for their injuries. Substantial financial settlements are possible from the drunk driver’s insurance policy, which can be used to pay for your pain and suffering.

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