A recent New York DWI case in Port Chester highlights the significance of Leandra’s Law, which was enacted by the New York State Legislature in November of 2009. Under Leandra’s Law, also known as the Child Passenger Protection Act, a motorist with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above, or under the influence of drugs, with children under age 16 in the vehicle, is automatically charged with a felony, even if it is his or her first DWI charge. The law was named after Leandra Rosado, who was killed last October in New York City when her friend’s mother overturned her car while intoxicated. Several other children were also injured in that accident.
This week, Port Chester resident Marcos Venegas was charged with six counts of felony DWI when he was stopped by police with 6 children under the age of 16 in his car. Apparently, Mr. Venegas had to pull over when one of his passenger became sick, and the police claim that when they investigated Mr. Venegas smelled of alcohol and was found to have a blood alcohol content above 0.08. Venegas was released on $1,000 bail and is due back in Court in mid June.
Leandra’s Law contains very stiff penalties: A conviction without any injuries results in a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. If a child passenger is injured, the motorist may be charged with a Class C felony and face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. If a child is killed, the driver can be charged with a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Contact the Westchester County DWI Lawyers at The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you are charged with a New York drunk driving charge, another criminal offense or a New York traffic infraction for a free consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.