MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an upstate man was sentenced yesterday to prison time and will be subject to a lifetime driving ban after being found guilty by a Nassau jury of a felony driving while intoxicated charge for a drunken crash on Long Beach Boulevard in November 2013.
Morgan Smith, 45, of Kingston, was sentenced on Thursday to the maximum sentence of 1-1/3 to four years in prison by Nassau Court of Claims Judge Alan Honorof, who ordered his driver’s license revoked for one year. If Smith reapplies, he will not be granted a new license based on his having at least five drunk driving convictions in his lifetime.
Smith was found guilty by a jury in October 2014 of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol (an E felony).
“This defendant is exactly the kind of driver we all fear,” Acting DA Singas said. “He is the perfect example of why we continue to fight to strengthen our laws. This is his 8th alcohol-related driving conviction and he crashed into a tree at 6:45 p.m. near a bus stop with waiting passengers; yet he was able to refuse a chemical test and no warrant for his blood could be obtained. This must change. Under the law he could only be charged with an E felony. This must also change. He was convicted in spite of trying to hide his BAC. I am grateful the Governor’s stringent licensing regulations will prevent him from being licensed again.”
Acting DA Singas said that on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 at approximately 6:45 p.m., Smith drove a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse onto a sidewalk and into a tree on Long Beach Boulevard near East Market Street. No one other than Morgan was injured.
Police officers and a Long Beach Fire Department emergency medical technician responding at the scene just after the crash observed Smith to be intoxicated. Smith was arrested by the Long Beach Police Department and transported to South Nassau Hospital for medical treatment.
Based on one prior DWI conviction in upstate Essex County in October 2006, Smith was charged with felony DWI. His five other prior DWIs and two DWAI convictions were not able to be counted against him because the crash occurred before the passage of “Vince’s Law,” which would have elevated the charge to a D felony.
Acting DA Singas is advocating that all of a driver’s prior DWIs be counted for the purpose of charging, regardless of age. She is also advocating that the artificial limit preventing blood warrants on DWIs without serious injury or death be removed and that the same rules that elevate sentences when an offender has prior penal law felonies apply to the crime of DWI.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of Acting DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Morgan is represented by Mitch Barnett, Esq.