Principal pleads guilty to driving while impaired

David Zimbler

Riverhead High School principal David Zimbler pleaded guilty Thursday in a Central Islip courtroom to a charge of driving while ability impaired. He was fined $500 and given a 90-day suspension of his drivers license.
Mr. Zimbler, 39, who lives in Commack and has headed the high school since 2007, was facing two counts of driving while intoxicated and one count of failure to stay in a lane of traffic after he was arrested on a Long Island Expressway service road in Brentwood in June 2008.
But those charges were all dismissed by County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. Thursday, with Mr. Zimbler instead pleading guilty to the reduced charge.
“All the original charges were dismissed and I was issued a traffic violation,” Mr. Zimbler said Friday.
Asked if the suspension of his license would jeopardize his getting to and from work, Mr. Zimbler said it would not, as the sentence allows him to use a car for work.
The court ruling noted that this was his first offense.
The sentence also refers Mr. Zimbler to alcohol counseling.
Under New York State law, driving while ability impaired is considered a traffic infraction and carries fines of between $300 and $500, or a maximum of 15 days in jail, while driving while intoxicated is considered a misdemeanor and carries fines of between $500 and $1,000, or up to one year in jail.
A blood alcohol reading of .08 percent or more is needed for a DWI, while readings of between .06 and .08 could result in a DWAI charge. Police traditionally issue two counts of DWI on each DWI arrest, one based on the blood alcohol level and one based on the officer’s observation.
The Riverhead school board delayed Mr. Zimbler’s tenure by a year in the wake of his arrest and also made him participate in an employee assistance program and in community service.

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