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Powerful Upstate lawmaker not seeking reelection after DWI arrest

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2020 | DWI

Brian Kolb has been an integral part of politics and thes New York State Assembly for decades. First elected in 2000, he won re-election nine times and rose to the powerful Assembly Minority Leader position in 2009.

Without question, Kolb has long been a prime mover and shaker in Upstate New York, but his grip on power began to loosen on the last day of last year. Kolb was arrested on New Year’s Eve 2019 for driving while intoxicated.

According to news reports, the longtime lawmaker has announced that he will not seek reelection this year. As many of our readers know, Kolb lives just an hour west of Syracuse in Canandaigua.

His arrest set off a wave of negative publicity, in part because it was widely reported that Kolb was behind the wheel of a state-issued vehicle when it slid off a driveway and down an embankment near his Ontario County home. A sheriff’s deputy filed a report that said the lawmaker had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.16 percent at the time, twice the state’s legal threshold of .08 percent.

It should be noted that there were no injuries in the mishap.

But there was certainly significant political damage done by a witness’s sworn statement that he approached the scene, Kolb claimed that his wife had been behind the wheel of the GMC Acadia at the time. According to the witness, Kolb said, “You know how women drive.”

Kolb did not mention his arrest in the announcement of his decision not to run for reelection, but few doubt that the arrest has effectively ended his political career.

Of course, his problems don’t end with the announcement. He must still contend with the DWI charge and the possibility that he will face the state’s harsh punishments if found guilty.

A first-offense DWI/DUI can result in the following:

  • Jail: up to a year behind bars in some cases
  • License: your driver’s license can be revoked for up to six months
  • Fine: up to $1,000

As Kolb’s case shows so very clearly: a DWI can have profound implications in a person’s life. While it’s true that most of us will never face the kind of publicity surrounding his arrest, a drunk driving conviction can ruin a career, severely hamper academic pursuits, future job opportunities, and send your auto insurance rates soaring.

If you face a DWI charge, contact a Syracuse attorney experienced in effective drunk driving defense.