Leandra’s Law imposes stronger penalties on DWI offenders

In 2013, revisions made to Leandra’s Law strengthened the penalties given to all convicted DWI offenders in New York.

People who are convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York will be required to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they wish to drive. The passing of Leandra's Law in 2009 made it mandatory for even first-time offenders to use the devices. In 2013, updates were made to Leandra's Law, strengthening the penalties given to those who drink and drive.

Updated regulations

The original law regarding interlock devices required convicted DWI offenders to use the small breath test machines for a minimum of six months following their conviction. The updated law has increased that time period to one year. The law was also expanded to give young offenders the same penalties as older DWI offenders. Under certain circumstances, DWI offenders are given a conditional driver's license that allows them to travel to work, school, medical appointments and other necessary destinations as long as they meet certain qualifications. Repeat DWI offenders who are caught drinking and driving with a conditional license can now be charged with a Class E felony DWI.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Interlock devices are essentially breath test machines that are wired into the ignition system of the vehicle, according to TechHive. A dashboard monitor records information regarding how many times the driver attempts to start the vehicle, as well as his or her blood alcohol content level at the time of each startup attempt. A monitor containing a camera is mounted to the dashboard. Drivers are prompted to blow into the tube when they want to start the vehicle, and then periodically while driving in order to keep the car going. If the driver's BAC level is above a preset limit, the vehicle will lock up.

Avoiding a lockout

When a driver has a BAC level measuring 0.02 percent or over on the initial startup of the vehicle, he or she will be required to try a second attempt within 15 minutes. If the driver fails this attempt or does not submit a breath sample at all, the vehicle will lockup. Drivers who have a BAC level reading over the preset limit while they are driving the vehicle or who miss the rolling retest altogether will also lockup the vehicle. Lockouts can also occur when the offender misses a scheduled IID maintenance appointment.

Organizing your case

If you have been charged with a DWI in Syracuse or Central New York, you may feel overwhelmed. A DWI can have a major impact on your life, and make it difficult to apply for loans, find employment in certain industries and retain your driver's license. A defense attorney may be able to help by explaining your legal options, exploring the details of your case and organizing a strong defense.

Keywords: DWI, drunk driving, arrest, charges, penalties