Recent amendments to NY’s DWI law add significant penalties and make it a felony to drive under the influence with a child in the car.
Before the recent amendments, police officers would often charge a DWI defendant who has a child in the car with misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Now, it is a felony under the DWI law to drive under the influence with a passenger under age 16 and such action must be reported to the Department of Social Services if the driver is the child’s parent, guardian or custodian.
In addition, the new law mandates the installation of ignition interlock devices for first time DWI offenders. An ignition interlock is a that device requires the driver to blow into a mechanism that checks for alcohol; if alcohol is detected, the car’s ignition won’t start and the result is reported to the individual’s sentencing court and probation officer. Noncompliance and tampering with the device is a misdemeanor.
It is more important than ever to retain counsel for drinking and driving offenses, as early in the case as possible.