Leandra’s Law Is Official: New York VTL 1192.2-a(b) / VTL 1192(2a)(b) Makes it a Felony to Drive Drunk (DWI / DUI) with a Child 15 Years Old or Younger
Leandra’s Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the criminal penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated on or after August 15, 2010 must have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate the driver will have an “ignition interlock” restriction added to their driver license
The law established a new Class E Felony. The law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle.
A court must sentence a person convicted of either Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle or Aggravated DWI/Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .18 or More to a period of probation or to a conditional discharge. The court must require the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle owned or operated by a person convicted under this law. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the criminal court.
A court that sentences a person for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction on or after August 15, 2010 must impose a conditional discharge or probation, and a condition of the sentence must be the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle the person owns or operates. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.
Driving while intoxicated is a crime. Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions the amount of alcohol you drink the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol the length of time you drink alcohol your body weight your gender
There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour.
More specifically, one can be charged with felony DWI / DUI pursuant to VTL 1192.2-a(b) / VTL 1192(2a)(b) when that person either has a BAC of .08 or greater, is intoxicated due to drug or alcohol ingestion or is “common law” DWI. Although often more difficult to prove due to the lack of scientific evidence, “common law” DWI refers to cases where an individual does not give a reading or sample of breath, urine or blood, but the police articulate the individual’s intoxication due to certain characteristics such as unsteadiness on one’s feet, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and watery-blood shot eyes, etc.
Leandra’s Law allows for a sentence of up to 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in state prison as well as fines ranging between $1,000 to $5,000. Other potential sentences include probation, community service, a drunk driving program and obviously restitution in the event damage is done to another’s property.
Before Leandra’s Law was available to the prosecution, prosecutors often charged individuals who drove drunk with children in their car with misdemeanor DWI along with misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child and either felony or misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment if applicable. Endangering the Welfare of a Child as well as misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment is punishable by up to one year in jail while felony Reckless Endangerment is punishable by up to 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in prison. It is important to note that these crimes can still be charged along with VTL 1192.2-a(b) / VTL 1192(2a)(b).
If you want to learn more about Leandra’s Law, seek the legal consultation of a New York DWI Attorney and New York Criminal Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.