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“Leandra’s Law” in New York

Leandra’s Law (also known as “Aggravated DWI” or “DWI with child in vehicle”) ushered in a series of new criminal offenses and penalties for DWI and related crimes. Enacted in late 2009. Leandra’s law enhanced penalties for driving with a child passenger age 15 or younger in the vehicle and new requirements for installing the Ignition Interlock Device. These recent legislative changes make the drunk driving laws in New York the toughest in the country.

Long Island leads the state in the number of people arrested under Leandra’s law. The statistics announced by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Statistics shows that from 2009 through 2014, Suffolk County had a total of 384 arrests under Leandra’s law, the most in the state for any county. Nassau County ranked 5th in the state for the number of arrests under Leandra’s law with a total of 185 arrests from 2009 through 2014. A total of 4,277 such arrests were made in all counties during that same time period.

If you were charged under Leandra’s Law with any form of DWI, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Nassau County, Long Island, NY. Stephanie Selloni is an experienced DWI defense attorney who fights to obtain the best result after a DWI arrest. Call (516) 972-1212 today to talk to Attorney Stephanie Selloni about your drunk driving arrest.

Nassau County DWI Lawyer Explains Leandra’s Law

At the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni, we pay particular attention to legislation that impacts the resolution of felony and misdemeanor DWI cases and other serious driving offenses. Call us at (516) 972-1212 to discuss your recent arrest for any felony or misdemeanor DWI cases.

Our office is in Garden City, and we serve clients throughout Nassau County, including Uniondale, Levittown, Mineola, and Hempstead. We also represent people charged with DWI in Suffolk County and the five boroughs of New York City.

Info on New York’s “Leandra’s Law”

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New Crimes Created by “Leandra’s Law”

VTL §1192-2a (b) creates a new class E felony offense for operating a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision 2, 3, 4, or 4a of this section while a child who is fifteen (15) years of age of age or less is a passenger in such vehicle. The statute has a statutory maximum penalty of up to 4 years in state prison.

Recent crime statistics show that between December 18, 2009, and July 22, 2013, more than 3,096 arrests were made for this offense. During that period, 2,404 cases were resolved. A sentence was imposed in 2,088 of those cases. Of those cases resolve during those times, the following punishments were imposed: 

  • Prison: 88 (4.2%)
  • Local Jail: 149 (7.1%)
  • Time Served: 15 (0.7%)
  • Jail & Probation: 443 (21.2%)
  • Probation: 926 (44.4%)
  • Fine: 402 (19.3%)
  • Conditional Discharge: 62 (3.0%)
  • Unconditional Discharge: 3 (0.1%)

Total number of sentences included 2,088. These statistics show how prosecutors are using the new legislation to impose harsh sentences. 

Additionally, Leandra’s Law requires law enforcement to file a report with the NYS Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline for Investigation. Specifically, VTL §1192 (2)(b), which became effective on December 18, 2009, provides:

“Where a law enforcement officer alleges a violation of paragraph (b) of subdivision 2a of this section and the operator of the vehicle is a parent, guardian, or custodian of, or other person legally responsible for, a child aged fifteen years or less who is a passenger in such vehicle, then the officer shall report or cause a report to be made, if applicable, in accordance with Article 6 of the social services law.”

VTL §1193 (1) (c) also enhances penalties for driving while intoxicated and causing the death or serious injury to any child passenger or children passengers under sixteen (16) years of age. Operators convicted of Aggravated Vehicular Assault (Class C Felony) are subject to state imprisonment up to 15 years. Operators convicted of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Class B Felony) offenses are subject to state imprisonment up to 25 years.

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Recent Legislation Changes to Leandra’s Law

The minimum IID condition length is now 12 months for those offenders that do not have an IID installed. Those who show proof of having the device installed for 6 months can have the condition removed at the court’s discretion. The court is permitted to order the condition for any portion or all of the period of supervision on probation. 

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The Ignition Interlock Requirements in Leandra’s Law

The Ignition Interlock Program in New York is one of the most far-reaching programs in the United States. Any violation of the requirements and regulations can result in draconian sanctions. New York State is one of only four states in the country that require the Ignition Interlock Device for any first DWI conviction as a court-ordered condition (often called the “First Offender Mandatory States”).

In New York, the Ignition Interlock Device is required for all motor vehicles owned or operated by the person convicted of DWI. The local probation officers or designed monitors perform the monitoring and supervision of the Ignition Interlocks. The New York State Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) provided nearly three million dollars in NHTSA funds based on the number of DWI convictions that require the installation of the ignition interlock from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.

Additional Resources

Statistics on Leandra’s Law in Long Island, NY – Visit a website featuring an interactive map showing the number of arrests made under Leandra’s law in each county in New York. Learn why arrests in Long Island are considerably higher than anywhere else in the state.

Leandra’s Law and Ignition Interlock Devices – Visit the website for the State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles to learn  more about Leandra’s law, Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehiclestatutory requirements for installing the ignition interlock device, penalties for the first lifetime offense and enhanced penalties for multiple offenders, and about problem driver restrictions. 

Leandra’s Law Fact Sheet – Visit the website of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to learn more about the child passenger protection act and the ignition interlock provision fact sheet. Find information recent statistics about the new law. The statistics show that a surprisingly large number of women are arrested for driving with a child passenger in the vehicle when the DWI is alleged although more men than women are still arrested for the offense.

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Finding A Long Island DWI Defense Lawyer For Leandra’s Law Case

Leandra’s Law means harsh penalties for any person convicted of DWI with a child in the car. If you face any charges where Leandra’s Law could be a factor, it is in your best interests to immediately contact an experienced DWI attorney.

Whether your case involves a breath, blood or urine test, or a refusal to submit to chemical testing, find out how Stephanie Selloni fights these difficult cases. Stephanie Selloni represents those charged with DWI in Nassau County, Suffolk County and in New York City. Call (516) 972-1212 today to set up a consultation.