Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime that carries serious penalties and is greatly frowned upon by NY Courts. Because drunk drivers are the cause of –accidents yearly, an offender generally only stands a chance at getting these charges reduced when they elect to hire a DWI attorney. Although DWI is already a severe crime to be convicted of, when a person is charged with DWI and had a minor in the vehicle at the time they were said to be driving while intoxicated, their penalties then become enhanced, which means they intensify in severity. One of the reasons why a person is subjected to harsher penalties when charged with DWI with a minor who is 15 years of age or younger in the vehicle with them is due to the enactment of Leandra’s Law.

What is Leandra’s Law?

Leandra’s Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009, and was done so in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra, who was only 11-years-old at the time of her death, was riding in the car with her friend’s intoxicated mother when they were involved in a fatal accident. In response to this tragedy, New York State Legislature decided to make several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law [Source: NY State Department of Motor Vehicles]. Not only did this fatal drunk driving crash result in the law strengthening the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, but also against those who have a minor in the vehicle with them at the time of their alleged offense.

What are some of the penalties a DWI offender faces when they had a child aged 15 or younger in the vehicle?

The law essentially established a new Class E Felony charge and it states that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child who is 15 years of age or younger as a passenger in the vehicle.” When this law is violated, you will be faced the following penalty:

  • When charged with Aggravated DWI with a Child in Vehicle, you will be sentenced to a period of probation or to a conditional discharge. You will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installedin your vehicle or any other vehicle you operate for at least 12 months unless otherwise permitted by the court.
  • If you are sentenced for DWI, you are also required to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle you own or operate.

Now, remember, these are additional penalties because you had a minor in the vehicle and you will likely be given many others seeing that you were charged with DWI. Although it can be tough to get these charges reduced, you have a good chance at achieving this with the help of a qualified DWI defense lawyer. If you were recently arrested in Saratoga Springs and would like help with finding a local attorney who specializes in handling DWI criminal cases, USAttorneys.com is available to help you now.