New York Legislators Attempt To Strengthen Leandra’s Law

In November of 2009, New York State enacted Leandra’s Law after the tragic death of 11 year old Leandra Rosado, who was killed when a friend’s mother drove while intoxicated on the way to a birthday party. One of the main provisions of the statute was that anyone convicted or who pled guilty to a DWI related crime (with the exception of driving while ability impaired, which is a traffic infraction, not a crime, and thus not included in the statute) would be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle they own or operate for at least 6 months. The IID prevents a driver from starting a vehicle unless they blow into the device with alcohol free breath (the device is actually calibrated to detect a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of approximately 0.2%). Additionally, the operator of the vehicle must continue to use the device in regularly scheduled intervals as they drive the vehicle, approximately every 15-30 minutes, and if he or she fails any of these tests, the vehicle will lock up if a re-test is not passed within a short period of time.

Apparently, what state lawmakers are addressing is that approximately 30% of drivers are complying with the requirements of the law. According to an article in the Journal News published this past week and written by Aaron Scholder, many drivers have circumvented the law by transferring the ownership of their vehicles to family members until the IID requirement is over (although the law requires a minimum of six months, in my experience, it is almost always for one year), or driving vehicles other than their own which do not have the IID installed. New York State Transportation Committee Chairman Charles Fuschillo cites statistics that only 31% of those convicted of DWI have installed the devices in their vehicles, or approximately 7,100 drivers. Many convicted under Leandra’s Law will simply claim that they do not own a vehicle or have access to one, and sign a certification or swear under oath to that effect. To address this problem, the State Senate wants to require that those convicted under the law who claim to have no car wear an ankle bracelet that would monitor alcohol levels.

The legislation passed by the Senate has now been delivered to the State Assembly for their review, but seems to have stalled. Considering that the session will end at the end of June, the pressure is on the Assembly to act on the new bill. It would appear that no legislator would want to publicly oppose a law which seeks to address problems in a statute already on the books, but there is certainly the possibility that the new law will not pass both chambers prior to the late June end of session.

If you are charged with a DWI in New York State, you are facing serious consequences and ramifications, including the loss of driving privileges, significant fines, and the potential impact on employment. It is vital that you retain attorneys who have the requisite experience and knowledge to guide you through the process and fight to the limit any effects on your life and livelihood. Contact the Westchester County DWI Attorneys at the White Plains, New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 for your free initial consultation today.