An upstate New York judge was arrested and charged with DUI following a one-car crash that occurred on her way to the courthouse.
State district Judge Leticia Astacio was elected to the bench two years ago, ironically after serving in the DUI division of the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. She refused to take a Breathalyzer test, but failed a series of field tests before being cited. Judge Astacio is scheduled to appear in court next month.
At the time of the incident, Judge Astacio had been on the way to the courthouse to conduct arraignments; officials said another judge was called in to replace her.
Third Party Alcohol Liability
One of the most pressing matters in an alcohol-related car crash is how the tortfeasor (negligent driver) obtained the alcohol or other intoxicating substance. New York has a very broad dram shop law that holds bars, restaurants, and other commercial providers liable when their intoxicated patrons cause a car crash, start a bar fight, or cause other personal injury.
The New York General Obligations Law states that there must be an “illegal sale” to trigger liability. In other words, the patron must be actually or apparently under age 21 or visibly intoxicated. Some signs of intoxication include:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Unsteady balance,
- Unusual emotional displays, and
- Mental impairment.
The law states that the provider must have caused or contributed to the intoxication, so evidence that the tortfeasor was inside the provider’s establishment is normally enough to prove that, more likely than not, the tortfeasor drank there.
New York also has a social host liability law, and it normally applies when a minor acquired liquor at an adult’s home, with or without the owner’s knowledge, and subsequently is intoxicated and causes a vehicle collision.
In both these instances, damages normally include compensation for both economic losses, such as physical rehabilitation expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
Alcohol-related crashes often involve complex legal issues. For a free consultation with attorneys who routinely handle serious car crash cases, contact Proner & Proner. We have six office locations in the Tri State area.