Karen Morris - Brighton Town Judge

Below is a representative sampling of articles, etc. written by Judge Morris.

Obey Rules of The Road

Our Legal System

Other Aid For Defendants










August 14, 2010

Hey buddy, got a spare $9,000? Can you bear the guilt of causing someone's death or serious injury? Want to contend with
an alcohol check every time you start your car and repeatedly while en route?

If you answered no to any of these, don't drink and drive. The law is clear — driving while intoxicated is a crime. The
consequences for a first-time offender are significant and just ratcheted up. They include a minimum fine of $500 plus a $400
surcharge, and mandatory revocation of driver's license for six months.

Additional possible penalties include jail, probation, an alcohol evaluation and treatment if indicated, attendance at a nine-week
class (which wins the motorist a restricted license), attendance at a victim-impact panel, alcohol evaluation and treatment if
indicated, and that's not all. The Legislature is fed up and is upping the ante.

Effective Sunday, New York law requires installation in the offender's vehicle of an ignition interlock. The vehicle will not start until
the driver blows into a mouthpiece. The device identifies the alcohol level in the motorist's breath. If the result is .025 or higher,
the vehicle will not start. (Note: Intoxication is .08 or higher.)

The devious driver may be thinking — no problem, I'll have a sober companion blow into it. Ahhh, but the device is wise to this
motorist. At a random interval within 15 minutes of starting to drive, a second test must be performed. If the motorist passes,
subsequent tests are initiated periodically throughout the trip. If the driver fails any of the tests, the car emits a piercing sound
that does not stop until the car is turned off. All results are recorded and can be reviewed by the judge or probation officer.

The following conduct is illegal: tampering with an ignition interlock, blowing into another person's appliance and asking someone
else to blow into yours.

You may be wondering about the $9,000 figure. Here's the breakdown: ignition interlock: $605; lawyer's fees: $3,000 to $5,000;
minimum fine and surcharge: $900; insurance premium increase: $1,500 approximately; education course: $275; victim impact
panel: $20; assessment fee imposed by the state: $750; alcohol evaluation: $275.

There is more. Some local newspapers report DWI arrests. Your job may be terminated upon conviction. Pursuit of certain careers
will be difficult, if not impossible, including police officer, firefighter, bus driver, bar owner and more.

Do not blow your financial and career goals, or risk others' lives, on a fleeting night out.

Karen Morris is Brighton town justice and a professor of law at Monroe Community College. She is also a candidate for Monroe
County Court.


Karen Morris - IN THE NEWS

2009 Law Day










Questions or comments?   E-mail Judge Morris at JudgeKaren@aol.com or call 256-0160