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Massena offenders warned deadline is fast approaching for change in county’s DWI policy

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MASSENA - An assistant St. Lawrence County district attorney warned the deadline is fast approaching when offenders facing driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated charges will not have the opportunity to earn a reduction under a new policy on drinking and driving offenses being enacted by the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office late next month.

In an Aug. 8 letter to the St. Lawrence County Bar Association, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary E. Rain had said under a new policy that will be implemented beginning Sept. 22 there will be no reductions for any DWI charges with a blood alcohol content above 0.10 percent, aggravated DWI above a 0.20 BAC or any DWAI drug charge under state vehicle and traffic law.

Under state law, a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes proof of intoxication. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or higher.

Additionally, as part of this new policy there will be no reduction if a defendant refuses to take a test to determine a BAC, felony charges must be from a Leandra’s Law violation, a DWI while children are passenger in the car, and if death or serious physical injury occurs because of drunk or drugged driving, the defendant must plead to the top offense and the top 1192 offense which covers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Brenna Ryan reiterated that new policy to two defendants facing aggravated DWI charges during Tuesday appearances in Massena Village Court.

Daniel P. Adams, 45, of 44 Rooseveltown Road, Massena, appeared on an aggravated DWI charge. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.26 percent when he was stopped by police at a road check at 10:40 p.m. Aug. 14, 2012 on Main Street.

Ms. Ryan said she was offering Adams the opportunity to plead guilty to a DWI count, but she noted the offer would be taken off the table Sept. 22/ “He needs to accept the DWI offer by Sept. 22 or we will have to proceed with the aggravated DWI because of his BAC (blood alcohol content),” she said.

Defense attorney Denice (Goodrich) Smith said she was renewing her request to have her client’s case placed on the trial calendar. But she said she would contact the court and the assistant district attorney if Adams’s position on the plea bargain offer changed before Sept. 22.

The same conversation took place when Felipe M. Cinitron, 41, of Doral, Fla., also appeared on an aggravated DWI charge. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent when he was stopped by police for speeding at 2:36 a.m. Aug. 17, 2013 on Center Street. He also had his not guilty plea continued. His case also remains on the trial calendar. He is also represented by Ms. Smith.

In other recent court action before Mr. Gustafson:

• Thomas G. Boice, 29, of 598 South Main St., Massena, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge and had his operating privileges suspended for 90 days after a driving while intoxicated charge was reduced to driving while ability impaired. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.11 percent when he was stopped by police at 10:45 p.m. Dec. 5 on Main Street for operation of a vehicle with inadequate lights.

• Michael J. Bero, 55, of 12 Grassmere Ave., Massena, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge and had his operating privileges suspended for 90 days after a driving while intoxicated charge was reduced to driving while ability impaired. Bero was also placed under a one-year conditional discharge. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent when he was stopped by police at 10:44 p.m. May 16, 2013 on Center Street.

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