What Is Leandra’s Law?
Leandra’s Law, enacted following the tragic death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, enhances the legislative landscape in New York State concerning penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, mainly when children under 15 are present in the vehicle. Adding an additional layer of protection for young passengers and elevating the possible charges from what might previously have been a misdemeanor to various classes of felony, this law underscores the paramount importance of having a dedicated Leandra’s Law Defense Lawyer if faced with DUI charges.
Possible Penalties Under Leandra’s Law
Known alternatively as the Child Passenger Protection Act, Leandra’s Law introduces the possibility of further penalties following a DUI conviction, specifically when a child aged 15 or younger is present in the vehicle at the time of the stop. A few pivotal scenarios are vital to understanding the penalties and their contextual application.
Primarily, legal guardians or those responsible for the child while intoxicated will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Furthermore, a conviction of driving under the influence mandates a period of conditional release, which requires the offender to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, even in situations where no child was present in the vehicle.
Additionally, the class of felony with which a driver may be charged significantly depends on the child’s condition in the vehicle during the DUI incident. For instance, even as a first offense, if a child under 15 is present and unharmed, a Class E felony charge, which carries up to four years in prison, may be levied against the driver. If the child is injured, penalties can escalate markedly.
Should a child be injured while in the vehicle during a DUI incident, the driver could face a Class C felony charge, which allows for a sentence of up to 15 years. If a child is tragically killed while in the vehicle, the driver may encounter a Class B felony charge, bringing a potential penalty of up to 25 years in prison.
Recent Legislation Changes to Leandra’s Law
Leandra’s Law, initially enacted in 2009, has undergone several adjustments to enhance the safeguarding of children continually and to discourage driving under the influence. The most notable changes encompass modifications in penalties, enforcement protocols, and ancillary requirements for those convicted under this statute.
Legislative amendments aim to fortify the original law by addressing any loopholes or weaknesses observed in its application over time. This includes amplifying penalties, tightening compliance checks, and refining protocols concerning reporting and monitoring individuals convicted of a Leandra’s Law violation.
It is pivotal for drivers and legal professionals to stay abreast of these changes to navigate the legal landscape accurately, ensuring adherence to the law and, when required, ensuring defenses are constructed with the most current legal frameworks in mind.
The Ignition Interlock Requirements in Leandra’s Law
Leandra’s Law imposes stringent ignition interlock requirements for individuals convicted of driving under the influence, especially when a child under 15 is in the vehicle. An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle that prevents it from starting if the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is above a certain level.
Under Leandra’s Law, offenders must install an IID in any vehicle they own or operate, even for a first-time offense. The IID must be maintained for a minimum period stipulated by the court, often at least 12 months. The offender typically bears the associated expenses for the installation and maintenance of the IID.
Any attempt to circumvent or tamper with the IID or failure to comply with the requisite maintenance and data download schedules is considered a Leandra’s Law violation and may result in additional penalties.
How A DWI With Child Passenger Attorney Can Help
If you have found yourself in this situation, it is imperative to contact a Hudson Valley, New York, DWI Attorney as quickly as possible. With the potential for such severe repercussions and additional risk, do not leave the matter to an inexperienced attorney or simply take your chances by throwing yourself to the mercy of the court.
Call The Inniss Firm, PLLC, to schedule a free initial consultation as soon as possible. From possible strategies to mitigate risk to handling each step from start to finish, we can discuss your situation and the options available to you to proceed. However, the longer you wait, the more damage can be done, so don’t hesitate and call today!