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New York Court of Appeals: DWI law does not apply to chemical inhalants

The definition of "intoxication" under New York law does not include impairment due to inhaling chemical substances, says a ruling by the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest -- no pun intended -- appellate court. The ruling came in a criminal case involving a teen-aged driver who inhaled a mouthful of Dust-Off, a product used for cleaning computer keyboards, and in his intoxicated state almost immediately drove into oncoming traffic, killing an 18-year-old occupant of another vehicle. The court said "intoxication" has consistently been interpreted as applying to alcohol consumption. New York law also forbids driving while under the influence of certain drugs, but the chemical in Dust-Off was not among those listed by the Legislature, which is considering changes to the law to close loopholes. From the New York Law Journal via Law.com.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.