Leandra’s Law, also known as the New York Child Passenger Protection Act, makes it a felony – even if it’s your first DWI offense – to drive while intoxicated with a person under 16 as a passenger. The bill was passed by both the New York State Assembly and the State Senate, and the law went into effect in 2010. In the state of New York, if you are charged under Leandra’s Law, or if you are accused of DWI or any related crime, get trustworthy legal help at once and contact an experienced Queens DWI defense attorney immediately.

Leandra’s Law was the response of New York lawmakers to the death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed on the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York City in October 2009 when her friend’s mother allegedly lost control of her vehicle while intoxicated. Leandra’s Law specifies that any person driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated and transporting a child shall be charged with a Class E Felony. Defendants convicted under Leandra’s Law may be imprisoned up to four years and fined anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. If a child is injured, the crime becomes a Class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison; if a child is killed, it becomes a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Installation of an ignition interlock device for at least six months is mandatory for all convicted DWI defendants in New York since 2010. However, an audit released by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that the majority of people who are supposed to be using ignition interlock devices aren’t installing them. DiNapoli says the compliance rate is only five percent in New York City. Statewide, only one in four offenders ordered to use an IID is using one. “[T]here was little evidence that NYC Probation routinely followed-up with offenders to determine if they owned vehicles in which devices should be installed, or did not drive motor vehicles during the periods of their restrictions,” according to a press release from DiNapoli’s office.

The audit found that many drivers in the state of New York evade the IID restriction by driving vehicles owned by other people. DiNapoli’s office says there are about 25,000 DWI convictions in the state every year, and about 4,000 of them are in New York City. The audit suggests that probation officers should establish procedures to make sure that convicted offenders are using IIDs, and it further suggests that courts and prosecutors should be notified of violations.

If you are convicted of a DWI, your driver’s licenses will be automatically suspended pending prosecution, and upon a driver’s conviction, your license will be suspended for a minimum of twelve months. Because children are involved, prosecutors typically will not reduce charges in Leandra’s Law cases. You’ll need to be properly defended and represented if you face any DWI charge in Queens or anywhere in the state of New York. You will need to take your case as soon as possible to an experienced Queens DWI criminal defense attorney.