Leandra’s Law in Nassau County, New York

Leandra’s Law

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Leandra’s Law

As a prosecutor, Richard was a member of a specialized unit which focused exclusively on Nassau County Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs cases. As part of this appointment, Richard attended police trainings on DWI detection, DWI policing policies, police testimony, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS), and breathalyzer technology. With this background, Richard is uniquely qualified as a Nassau County DWI Lawyer to represent you or your loved one who is accused of a crime. Our firm knows how to help you protect your license, protect your record, and protect your freedom.

Understanding Leandra’s Law in New York

Drunk driving puts everyone on the road in danger, and for this reason it is illegal to drive with blood alcohol levels above .08% anywhere in the United States. However, when the driver of a motor vehicle is intoxicated and also has a child in the car as a passenger, it becomes a particularly egregious offense and one that the state of New York takes very seriously.

The Child Passenger Protection Act, also known as Leandra’s Law, was passed in 2009 in NY to deter drivers from drinking and driving with child passengers in their car. The law lays out strict punishments for anyone caught driving drunk with a passenger in the car in New York.

If you or a loved one is being charged with a DWI under Leandra’s Law, you can face an automatic felony DWI charge in NY. If convicted, this could mean heavy fines, a revocation of your driver’s license and prison time. To find out what you can do to fight your case and potentially have your charges dismissed or reduced, contact a knowledgeable DWI attorney in Nassau County today. With the help of a skilled Nassau County DWI defense attorney, you may be able to avoid the worst of the penalties associated with a conviction under Leandra’s Law.

What is Leandra’s Law in New York?

On November 18th, 2009, Leandra Rosado was killed while riding in a car being driven by an intoxicated driver who was a friend of her mother. At the time of her death, she was only 11 years old. In response to this tragedy and to deter the chance of it happening again, the New York State Legislature toughened some of the penalties against people who drink and drive with children in their cars. Leandra’s Law applies some of the following conditions to DWI law in New York:

  • Any person convicted of a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense in NY is required to have an Ignition interlock device (IDD) installed in their vehicle for at least six months. Their driver’s license will also reflect that they have an IDD restriction.
  • First time DWI offenders with a child of 16 years or less in the car can be charged with a Class E felony. Although this is the least serious type of felony charge in NY, all felonies are serious and can be punished with prison time, fines, license revocation, and a permanent record.
  • If a driver is intoxicated or on drugs and causes the injury of a child of 16 years or less, they may be charged with a Class C felony. This type of felony can be punished with up to 15 years in jail.
  • If a driver who is intoxicated or on drugs causes the death of a child 16 years or younger, they can be charged with a Class B felony. This type of felony can be punished with up to twenty-five years in a state jail.
  • The crime is also reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

Aside from the hardship of facing the punishments if convicted, the charge will stay on your record for up to ten years and it will likely raise your insurance premiums drastically, or in some cases, you can be dropped from your insurance altogether. This can have a huge financial impact on you and your family.

Leandra’s Law an Automatic Felony in New York

One important thing to remember is that being charged under Leandra’s Law means you are facing an automatic felony charge. Felony charges are the most serious type of crime in NY, so even for first-time offenders, a conviction can carry severe consequences. If charged and convicted under Leandra’s Law in New York, your penalties can include:

  • If the child is not harmed, four years in state prison.
  • If the child is injured, 15 years in state prison.
  • If the child is killed, 25 years in state prison.
  • Fines between $1000 and $5000.
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.

One of the reasons penalties for drinking and driving charges with a child in the car are so harsh is because the state feels that people under the age of 16 may feel pressured to get in a car with an adult who is driving. Besides the obvious gravity of a lengthy jail sentence, a felony charge in New York can stay on your record forever and make it difficult to find employment, rent an apartment and cause other hardships in your life. That’s why if you or a loved one is being charged under the Child Passenger Protection Act, you should contact a DWI defense attorney and start preparing to fight the charges.



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At the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser, we have years of experience representing people accused of DWI and Aggravated DWI crimes in Nassau County. We understand the best strategies for building a case, and we’re not afraid to defend your rights in court. For a free consultation with our knowledgeable Nassau County DWI defense attorney, give us a call today at (516) 939-1529 or contact us online.

Should I hire an attorney if I’ve been accused?

Being convicted of a DWI under Leandra’s law can have a huge impact on your life and having a felony on your record is no laughing matter. Because of the harsh penalties that can come with a conviction, you should contact an experienced DWI attorney in Nassau County who understands Leandra’s Law and can help you fight your charge.

Having a NY DWI attorney on your team can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, to prove you are guilty of DWI under Leandra’s Law, the prosecutor must first prove your DWI charge. This can be more difficult if you refused to take a chemical test, or if the officers made a mistake or broke the law when arresting you.

For example, if the police did not have probable cause to pull you over and administer a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, then the evidence they secured during the arrest may be inadmissible in court. Because mistakes are often made and proving someone is guilty is not easy, many more people have been charged under Leandra’s Law than have been convicted.

With the help of a knowledgeable DWI defense attorney in Nassau County, you can investigate your case and prepare the best possible defense. Furthermore, DWI lawyers in NY understand the intricacies of the legal system and how to negotiate on your behalf to reduce your charges and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

What is the ignition interlock program in New York?

When you are convicted under Leandra’s Law for an Aggravated DWI with a Child in Vehicle, one of the stipulations of your probation will be the required installation of an ignition interlock device in your car or motor vehicle. This device, which tests your BAC levels before allowing you to start the car, must remain in your vehicle for a period of at least one year unless the court states otherwise.

IDD must be installed at your own expense and cannot be removed until you receive a form from your ignition interlock monitor stating that the device is no longer required. For more information on IDD in New York, you can visit the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services page.


Can I be charged under Leandra’s Law for drugs?

The short answer is yes. If you are suspected of driving while “impaired” by a drug or combination of drugs and alcohol with a child in the car, you can be convicted of a DWAI, DWI, Aggravated DWAI, or DWAI Drug crime. Any drug that is listed on the New York State list of controlled substances that impairs your ability to drive is enough to convict you of a DWI charge.

However, while it is illegal to drive impaired by drugs in New York, these cases can be more difficult to convict than DWI cases involving alcohol. The reason is because the technology to detect drug use and the laws to regulate it are still underdeveloped. While NY state uses Drug Rehabilitation Experts to evaluate people suspected of being impaired by drugs, the science of detecting drug use remains far from perfect.


Contact the Leandra’s Law DWI defense attorneys in Nassau County

Putting a child in danger is never a good decision. However, we understand people make mistakes and believe that everyone deserves a second chance. At the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser, we represent clients in Nassau County for all sorts of DWI charges, including DWAI, Aggravated DWI and Aggravated DWI with a Child in the Vehicle.

Mr. Hochhauser’s experience as a former prosecutor and DWI specialist means he understands how the prosecutor will try to charge you and can use his knowledge of NY DWI law and experience in court, to defend your rights and secure a positive outcome for your case. If you or a loved one has been accused of DWI with a child in the vehicle, your life is on the line. Don’t risk lengthy jail terms and expensive fines.

To fight for your charges to be reduced or dismissed, contact the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser today at (516) 939-1529 or here online for a free consultation and case review. We look forward to helping you resolve your case.