On Monday, December 8, New York Representative Vito Fossella, who was at one time considered a “boy wonder” of Staten Island politics, was sentenced to five days in a Virginia prison after being convicted of driving under the influence in a case that upended his career.

Unless an appellate court overturns the conviction, Fossella will serve time in an 8-foot-by-10-foot cell at the Alexandria Detention Center. 

Judge Becky Moore ordered Fossella to report to prison on December 19, but his attorneys said that he would appeal the sentence before a jury, which is permitted under Virginia state law.

During the aftermath of Fossella’s arrest in May, he acknowledged that he had been on his way to visit a child he had fathered in an extramarital affair.

Amid the scandal, he abandoned his bid for re-election, which resulted in Democrat Michael McMahon winning the seat. McMahon is the first Democrat in 28 years to win Staten Island’s 13th Congressional District.

In October, Fossella was found guilty of misdemeanor DUI. As part of the sentence handed down on Monday, he was fined $300 and had his license suspended for a year in Virginia.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked the judge to impose a five-day prison sentence, which is the automatic penalty for drivers who register a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher. However, his blood-alcohol content was a point of contention during the hearing. According to his arrest report, he registered 0.133 percent during a roadside breath test after being pulled over around 1 a.m. However, prosecutors pointed to a test he took on another machine at the station house, in which his blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.17 percent.

Ultimately, Judge Moore ruled that Fossella’s case met the legal threshold for the five-day penalty.

Bob Battle
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100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts
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