Leandra’s Law, and How it Affects Drivers Arrested for DWI in Upstate New York

New York State has some of the toughest DWI laws in the country. If you are arrested for DWI it is very important that you call on the best DWI defense attorney to represent you; one who closely follows the progress of recent legislation.

The law is named in memory of Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old girl who was killed when an SUV she was riding in crashed in October of 2009. Leandra was the only person to die in the crash. The driver of the SUV was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison for the felony DWI charges.

Leandra’s Law has two major components relating to DWI. The first component toughens the penalties for DWI, elevating driving while intoxicated to a Class E Felony if a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle. Additionally, provisions of the Penal Law relating to vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, and aggravated vehicular manslaughter, are all upgraded one grade if the under 16 passenger receives serious physical injury or dies.

The arresting officer is required to make a notation on the traffic ticket of C.I.V. (Child in Vehicle) which alerts the court and the district attorney that there was a child in the vehicle when the violation occurred. This notation does not relieve the officer of the requirement that they file a felony complaint with the court, since a felony can not be charged by a “simplified information” traffic ticket. In instances where the operator of the vehicle is a parent or guardian of the child, the officer is required to notify county social services (Child Protective Services) of the violation.

The second component of Leandra’s Law requires all drivers convicted of misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charges, even first-time offenders, to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicles they own or operate. The motorist will be required to blow into the device, and if any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. A driver is further restricted by having to blow into the device at random intervals, and if alcohol is detected, the vehicle will then shut down.