David Cassidy Charged with Felony DWI in New York

You might remember David Cassidy, a former teen idol who starred in the 1970’s “The Partridge Family” sitcom. The son of actor Jack Cassidy and step-son of actress Shirley Jones, he is also a singer (fifteen albums, including five solo albums), and has appeared in numerous films and appeared as a guest star on various TV shows. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida resident was charged on Wednesday with felony driving while intoxicated by police in Schodack (Rensselaer County). According to Cassidy’s website, he was apparently in upstate New York performing with his band this summer. The website, while making no mention of the arrest, notes that Cassidy is scheduled to appear on Oprah’s Where Are They Now segment that will air on August 25.

Police say Cassidy got off at the wrong exit in Schodack, and was stopped at a DWI checkpoint after officers noted that he failed to dim the bright lights on his car. They report that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.10, which is above the legal limit of 0.08. Cassidy was arrested and transported to county jail, where he posted $2,500 bail and was released.

The felony charge relates to another drinking and driving incident from 2010 in Florida, in which Cassidy was stopped after he crossed the center traffic line and proceeded to cut in front of another driver while trying to negotiate an exit ramp. In that case, officers say Cassidy blew a 0.14 BAC, and that they found a half-empty bottle of bourbon in the back seat of his Mercedes. They also say Cassidy was confused, stumbling slightly, and failed field sobriety tests.

A second (or subsequent) DWI in can lead to a felony charge in New York, even if the prior conviction or convictions were in another state. Section 1192 of the VAT expressly provides that an out-of-state conviction (in this case Florida) for driving under the influence is considered a prior conviction under the law for purposes of determining penalties imposed for a subsequent conviction.

We’ll obviously have to wait to see how the case turns out. In the meantime, it’s another indication that fame and fortune are not ordinarily a protection against drunk driving charges.

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