Leandra’s Law, making it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle, led to 661 DWI arrests in 2010, according to an evaluation by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The law was named for 11 year old Leandra Rosado, who died in an October, 2009 car accident when the SUV she was a passenger in flipped over in Manhattan. The driver of the SUV, Carmen Huertas, is currently serving a 4-12 year sentence for the felony DWI charges.
The number one county for Leandra’s Law arrests in 2010 was Suffolk County, with 67 arrests, followed by Erie County with 57 motorists being charged. Westchester County was third, with 45 drivers charged under the law, which went into effect on December 18, 2009.
Male drivers were twice as likely to be arrested under the statute; police charged 425 male motorists and 236 female drivers. Across the United States, 36 states have a child endangerment statute which punishes intoxicated drivers with a child in their cars, but New York was the first state to make it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle. Certainly, the Diane Schuler accident in July, 2009, in which 8 people died including 4 children, played a significant role in creating the impetus for Leandra’s Law.
Under the statute, any driver now convicted of driving while intoxicated must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle for one year. With an IID, the vehicle will only start if the driver has alcohol free breath, and then the driver must continue to blow into the device approximately every 15 minutes to keep the ignition from cutting off. Failure to install, maintain or comply with the IID device can result in additional misdemeanor charges.
Contact the Westchester County Drunk Driving Attorneys online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you have been charged with a New York DWI , aggravated DWI or any other drunk driving offense for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.