New York DWI Laws–Ignition Interlocks More Prevalent in 2010

NY Governor Paterson signed “Leandra’s Law” on November 18, 2009, by which motorists accused of a New York drunk driving offense with a child under age 15 in the car will be charged with a felony. The law, which will actually go in effect on August 15, 2010 (270 days from the signing date), will also require that motorists convicted of a New York DWI install an interlock ignition device in their vehicles for at least 6 months.

Interlocks have been used for many years in NY Felony DWI cases, by which the motorists must blow into the device with alcohol free breath before their cars will start. According to the Westchester County Probation Department, they presently monitor 162 drivers required to use ignition interlocks. Westchester oversees over 1,700 motorists on probation for New York DWI, with 602 convicted of felonies. To prevent a drunk driver from utilizing a sober person to blow into their device, many agencies now use ignition interlocks which require the motorist to continue to blow into the interlocks at regular intervals. If the device does not get a non-alcohol breath, the car’s horn will blow and the lights on the vehicle will flash to alert authorities.

An ignition interlock costs $75.00 to install and $75.00 per month for maintenance fees. It is possible to get false readings if someone recently used mouthwash, for example, but waiting 5 to 10 minutes is usually all that’s needed to try the device again.

If you or a loved one is charged with a New York DWI, a criminal offense or New York traffic infraction, contact the Westchester County Criminal Defense Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney.