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How Does Leandra’s Law Affect DWI Cases in New York City?

 Posted on May 27, 2020 in Criminal Defense

New York, NY DWI defense attorney

The legal implications of a car crash caused by drunk driving become significantly more complicated if there is a child in the vehicle. The New York Child Protection Act, also known as Leandra’s Law, took effect in 2009. Leandra Rosado was an 11-year-old girl who was killed in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver who lost control of her vehicle after allegedly drinking for hours before she got behind the wheel. Leandra’s father fought for these stricter laws to be put in place. Because of this, it is essential to understand the consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Regardless of the details surrounding a car accident, you must work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend yourself against criminal charges related to drunk driving. 

Child Protection Act/Leandra’s Law

Leandra’s law is designed to protect children from intoxicated drivers. The law’s initial form only punished drivers for being intoxicated while they had a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle. However, the final form of the bill goes one step further and requires that all drivers convicted of misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charges (even if they are a first-time offender) must equip an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle they own for at least six months. At the time, New York was one of only 10 states to have a first offender ignition interlock law.

Following a DWI conviction, a driver is responsible for purchasing and maintaining an IID, which could cost between $75 and $100 to install with a service fee of $70 to $100 per month. If a motorist is required to have an interlock device but is caught without one, he or she could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to one year in prison. Anyone who tries to help an intoxicated friend work around the interlock system by breathing into it for him or her can also be punished with a Class A misdemeanor.

The above rules apply to all first offenders, but more serious penalties may apply to drivers who are convicted of driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol with a child under 16 years old on board. First offenders in this situation are subject to a Class E felony, which can be punished by up to four years in prison. Motorists who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause serious physical injury to a child in the vehicle who is under 16 years old may be charged with the Class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If intoxicated drivers kill any children who are in their vehicles, they are subject to Class B or Class C felonies, with the possibility of 25 years in prison. 

Contact a New York County DWI Defense Attorney

A strong defense is a necessity when fighting against drunk driving charges, and the stakes are even higher when a child is involved. To protect your rights, you will need the help of a highly dependable NYC criminal defense attorney to mitigate or eliminate the charges against you. Attorney Gregory J. Watford has 25 years of litigation experience and over 10 years of law enforcement experience, so he understands what it takes to build a solid defense. To schedule a private consultation with the experienced legal team at The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC, call us today at 646-580-6675.




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