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What is Leandra's law?

Motorists in New York and elsewhere frequently drive with young children in their vehicles. While this is not an uncommon activity, it could be a dangerous activity if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an officer stops a driver and the driver is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she could face serious penalties. These penalties could increase if the suspected driver is traveling with a child in the vehicle.

What is Leandra's law? In the state of New York, this is a legislation that makes driving with a child under the age of 16 while under the influence of alcohol or drugs illegal. According to this law, this is considered a Class E felony and is punishable by up to four years in prison. Those convicted of a DUI or an aggravated DUI under this law are required to install and maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle they own or operate for at least 12 months.

Leandra's law also makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a conditional license. Additionally, if a drunk driver or a driver impaired by drugs causes the death of a child under the age of 16, he or she could be charged with a Class B felony under this law and could face up to 25 years in prison. Lastly, an intoxicated driver or a driver impaired by drugs that causes serious injuries to a child under the age of 16 could face a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Because drunk driving could cause serious injuries and even death, it is understandable why harsh penalties could result for a drunk driver. Moreover, children are a vulnerable population, giving cause and reason for stricter penalties for having a child in a vehicle or causing the death or injury of a child. However, when a driver is facing such serious allegations, it is important that he or she takes steps to ensure their rights and interests are protected.

Initiating a criminal defense strategy could help a defendant protect their rights. Whether its submitting evidence, suppressing evidence, initiating a defense action or making a plea bargain, it is crucial to be fully aware of the options available. A drunk driving charge could carry serious penalties and it is important to protect against being wrongfully charged or convicted of these charges.

Source: Dmv.ny.gov, "You and the Drinking and Driving Laws," accessed August 5, 2016

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