Leandra’s Law Approved: Drunk Driving Penalties More Severe

On November 18, 2009, the bill supporting Leandra’s Law was signed, now making it a felony to drive drunk while a child is in the car. The new legislation is named after an 11-year-old girl who was killed as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. According to a report, the signing of Leandra’s Law has been referred to as one of the most difficult bills to turn around in the nation. In fact, it even stalled for weeks in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Residents and visitors of New York should also note that in addition to making it a felony to drive drunk with a child 15 or younger in the vehicle, Leandra’s Law also makes it mandatory for ignition locks to be installed in the vehicle of any convicted drunk driver. After an individual blows into the ignition lock device, it is able to detect whether that person has consumed alcohol. If the device picks up any trace of alcohol, then the driver will not be allowed to start their vehicle’s ignition.

In signing the bill, Governor Paterson stated, “These are the types of penalties that this state has needed for a long time.”

Now that Leandra’s Law has been passed, the stakes are even higher for individuals facing DUI charges in New York. Other states may also expect similar changes to be made regarding driving under the influence penalties.

It is not highly uncommon for those arrested for DUI in New York to feel overwhelmed and uncertain regarding their legal rights. If you have been charged with a crime in New York, no matter how minor or serious the offense, the experienced New York criminal defense attorneys can help. Aggressive and knowledgeable lawyers have been defending the rights of those accused of a wide range of offenses for many years, and know what it takes to obtain a successful outcome in a New York criminal case.


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