ALBANY, N.Y. - Albany County has one of the strictest penalties when it comes to drinking and driving but the District Attorney's Office says they rank number 11 in the state for DWI Convictions.
The number of convictions is up from almost a decade ago in 2006, when Albany County ranked number 61 out of 62 in the state. Officials say that was due to the ease of pleading down a DWI charge at that time.
“Ten years ago when we began this journey together Albany County ranked number 61 out of 62 counties in DWI convictions,” said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
Since then, the ranking has improved significantly. Soares has announced Albany County is now ranked number 11 when it comes to DWI conviction rates.
“The days of being twice over the legal limit and hiring a lawyer that happens to know a prosecutor and leveraging those relationships and coming in for a reduction-those days are over,” he said.
Since then, the county has devoted more resources and training with law enforcement to ensure everyone is following the best practices for all traffic stops related to drinking and driving. The District Attorney’s Office hopes to continue to work with their partners, like Choices 311, to make our streets the safest in New York.
“Because of the number of people whose lives are affected we will continue to take an aggressive approach and we are not going to stop until we are number one and we are not going to stop until we get these cases through the door,” said Assistant District Attorney Mary Tanner-Richter.
On average, the District Attorney says two people a week go to jail because they aren't getting the message.
Officials say it's not only the drinking and driving they have to worry about, but it's also the drugged driving.
“This year to date we have 597 DWI arrests and we 80 drug arrests alone. Our focus is not stopping with alcohol but we are broadening our horizons. We are looking to the drugs,” said Marty Zaloga with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials say they still have a long way to go to be ranked number one in convictions in the state, but in the meantime they hope they're getting the message.