Suffolk County, NY- Each year, law enforcement agencies arrests thousands of motorists for driving under while impaired. Some of those arrests entail allegedly impaired drivers who have minor children on their vehicles, as two cases from Suffolk County show.
Last Thursday on Feb. 27th, a Suffolk County police arrested a Ridge woman for DWI with her two month-old son in her vehicle. Police had been alerted about a potentially intoxicated driver and eventually located the car, Newsday reported.
A few days earlier, on Feb. 23rd, another woman was arrested after she allegedly struck a vehicle and fled the scene of an accident on the Northern State Parkway. The driver, a 45 year-old Northport woman had her 10 year-old son in her vehicle and failed field sobriety tests, according to NBC New York.
Both women were charged with aggravated DWI under Leandra’s law.
Leandra’s Law, which was passed in 2009, came in the wake of a deadly drunken driving accident that killed a young girl and injured six children. Leandra Rosada, 11 at the time, was riding with a mother of one of her friends. The mother, who was intoxicated, lost control and flipped the vehicle she was driving, killing Leandra instantly.
Since the passing of Leandra’s Law (Child Passenger Protection Act), Suffolk County law enforcement agencies have made more aggravated DWI with minor child arrests than any other county in the state. According to Newsday, the county has arrested 384 people for such charges between 2009 and 2013, nearly double that of Nassau County which netted 180 aggravated DWI with minor child arrests.
Under Leandra’s law, a DWI with a minor child in their vehicle carries a penalty of up to four years in jail and fines up to $5,000. What’s more, a person convicted under Leandra’s law will have a possible felony on their record which can have negative impact of their future career choices. Some professional licenses are not issued to felony offenders and such a mark has the potential to make a person unappealing to an employer.
The consequences of a DWI, when no extenuating circumstances, such as driving with a minor vehicle in the car exist, are serious enough. For a first DWI conviction, a person faces up to one year in jail, fines up to a $1,000 and a six month suspension of their driver’s license. It is also possible for an individual to be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and those costs will come out of their pocket.
No attorney condones driving while impaired, but they understand that there are circumstances in which individuals are wrongfully charged with DWI. Or, made an error in judgment that many motorists make and shouldn’t mar them for life. It is more than worth it for a person to enlist the services of a DWI attorney in Suffolk County to work on their DWI defense.
Some people think they don’t need a lawyer and can resolve their DWI charges on their own. With so much at stake this is an unwise decision that a person could pay for years to come. Before making such an important decision, an individual should speak with a DWI attorney in New York to discuss their case and possible defense strategies. They have the knowledge and skills to help a person avoid conviction or minimize the consequences of a DWI conviction.