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When is an ignition interlock device required in New York?

When a driver is arrested for driving while intoxicated, they could face serious penalties if they are convicted. In the state of New York, a driver could endure additional consequences rather than just a large fine and possible license suspension or revocation. In some cases, it might be mandatory to have an ignition interlock device installed in the driver's vehicle. This could be a major penalty to face, and many question what circumstance require an ignition interlock device be installed.

In 2009, Chapter 496 was passed in New York. This is commonly referred to as Leandra's Law and details the events that require a first time DWI offender to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. The law was passed to strengthen the penalties for those accused of drunk driving when a child is in the vehicle. In addition to having a child in the vehicle, this law affects those who are convicted of an aggravated DWI or those driving with a BAC level of 0.18 or more. Anyone sentenced for these convictions on or after August 15, 2010, will face this mandatory penalty.

The purpose of these devices is to monitor the driver during the period of time determined by the court, which is at least 12 months. The device registers the operator's BAC at the time they attempt to start a vehicle. If their BAC is above a certain limit, the vehicle will not start. Furthermore, this could lead to other consequences.

A driver who faces a drunk driving charge and seeks to avoid penalties such as an ignition interlock device should understand their options. This means initiating a defense in order to reduce or drop the charges against them. By questioning how the evidence was gathered or how a field sobriety test was conducted, the defendant could potentially have the charges reduced or dismissed.

A DWI is often considered a serious situation because it could impact the driver's personal and professional life by limiting their ability to drive a vehicle. Drivers should understand their rights regarding the situation and should seek guidance when developing their defense strategy.

Source: criminaljustice.ny.gov, "Ignition Interlock," accessed on Oct. 20, 2014

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