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What is "Leandra's Law"?
Leandra's Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that
any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated on or after August 15, 2010 must have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate
the driver will have an "ignition interlock" restriction added to their driver license.
Suffolk County DWI Lawyers
Child-in-Vehicle Provisions
A. Vehicle and Traffic Law
1. Aggravated DWI - with a child. A new subdivision (b) ofVehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(2-
a) provides that it is a class E felony offense for a person to operate a motor vehicle in violation of
VTL § 1192(2), (3), (4) or (4-a) with a passenger who is fifteen years of age or younger. Thus, first
time offenders who commit the misdemeanor offense of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or
impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol will now face a class E felony charge if a
child under the age ofsixteen is in the motor vehicle.
The existing offense of aggravated DWI - per se, where a person operates a vehicle with a blood
alcohol content of.18 or greater, has been relocated within a new subdivision (a) ofVTL § 1192(2-
a). It is not enhanced under Leandra's Law, remaining a class A misdemeanor for a first offense
(VTL§1193(l)(b)).
2. Sentence ranges. A person convicted of aggravated DWI -with a child, is subject to the same
sentence ranges as a person convicted of other class E felony offenses. Thus, the court may impose a
non-jail term of conditional discharge or probation,or may impose a jail term up to one year,
includinga "split" sentence, or may impose an indeterminate prison term up to 1 1/3 years to 4
years. However, an unconditional discharge is not permitted(VTL § 1193(7)(e)). As with other
VTL§ 1192offenses, a sentence of probationor conditional dischargemust include a fine (VTL
§1193(7)(e)), although the fine rangesvarywiththe offense and whether it the defendant's first
offense or the defendant is a repeat offender. The fine ranges are set forth in VTL § 1193(1).
3. License revocation. A first offense carries a mandatory revocation ofone year. Where the
defendant has been convicted within the prior ten years of VTL § 1192(2), (2-a), (3), (4) or (4-a), the
mandatory revocation is eighteen months (VTL § 1193(2)).
4. Plea restrictions. Any plea of guiltyenteredby a defendant charged with aggravated DWI -
with a child,must include at least a plea of guiltyto VTL § 1192(2), (2-a) or (3) unless "the district
attorney, upon reviewing the available evidence, determines that the charge of [aggravated DWI] is
notwarranted" (VTL § 1192(10)(d)). Significantly, this prevents a first offendercharged with
aggravated DWI from pleading to driving while ability impaired underVTL § 1192(1) without the
district attorney'srepresentation that the higher charge is "not warranted." Even wherethe district
attorney make such a representation, the courtis nonetheless required to "set forth uponthe record
the basis for such disposition" (Id.).
5. Mandatory screening. At arraignment, or at the Suffolk County court's discretion at any time prior to sentence,  the court must order a defendant charged with aggravated DWI - with a child, to submit to screening for alcoholor substance abuse and dependency. If the screeningindicates that the defendant is
abusing or dependent on alcohol or drugs, the courtmustfurther orderthe defendant to undergo a
formal alcohol or substance abuse and dependency assessment (VTL § 1198-a(2)).
6. Responsibility ofLaw Enforcement Officers: Mandatory Reporting to Suffolk County Child Protective
Services. VTL § 1192(12)(b) has been amended to require a lawenforcement officer to note in the
descriptive section ofa simplified traffic information the remark "C.I.V." (Child inVehicle)
whenever a driver is charged with a violation ofVTL § 1192(2), (2-a), (3), (4) or(4-a) and a child
under the age ofsixteen was present inthe motor vehicle. More significantly, where the driver is a
parent, guardian or custodian of a child inthe vehicle, the law enforcement officer must also "report
or cause a report to be made" to Child Protective Services pursuant to Article 6 ofthe Social
Services Law.
Suffolk County DWI Attorneys
7. Interlock Device. A court must sentence a defendant convicted of VTL § 1192(2-a) to a period
ofprobation or a conditional discharge, a condition ofwhich must bethe installation ofanignition
interlock device in any motorvehicle owned or operated by a defendant. As more fully described
below, this is in addition to any othersentence, including jail or state prison, that the court imposes,
and runs consecutively to any term ofimprisonment.

LEANDRA'S LAW - SUFFOLK COUNTY