Westchester County DWI–First Cases Under Leandra’s Law

Under the recently enacted Leandra’s Law, which went into effect in December, 2009, motorists will now be charged with a felony if accused of a New York DWI with children under the age of 16 in the car. The law was named for Leandra Rosado, an 11 year old girl who was killed in a rollover DWI accident in October of 2009 while a passenger in car of her friend’s mother.

Westchester County’s first arrest under Leandra’s Law was made in mid-December when William Ordonez was charged with two felony counts of DWI, including having a BAC of 0.20, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, and a misdemeanor charge of driving without a license. Ordonez apparently had three children, ages 5,7 and 11, in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.

On December 28, John B. Dickson of Scottsdale, Arizona was charged with felony DWI under Leandra’s Law when he was arrested in Somers with two children, ages 6 and 8 in the vehicle. Dickson was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Putnam County’s first arrest under Leandra’s Law was more dramatic. Connecticut resident Joann Celli traveled to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department to discuss a complaint when she was allegedly observed to be intoxicated and arrested for felony DWI. Celli was charged with New York felony DWI for apparently driving 40 miles with her 10 and 11 year old children in the vehicle.

In addition to the tragic case of Leandra Rosado, the new law was also in large part motivated by the horrific accident on the Taconic Parkway last July in which Diane Schuler drove while intoxicated and high on marijuana, killing 8 people, including her three young nieces, two year old daughter and three men in the vehicle her car struck.

Contact the New York DWI defense lawyers at the Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you have been charged with a New York DWI, another criminal offense or a traffic infraction for a free consultation with an experienced defense attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.