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Driving Under the Influence & Leandra’s Law

September 29, 2011

Published in a recent article in the Buffalo News, a Hamburg woman received both jail and probation time for driving under the influence of a narcotic drug with young children in the vehicle.  Drinking and driving laws in New York will continue to become more strict each year. Leandra’s Law imposes two new major consequences on defendants convicted of DWI or driving while impaired by drugs with children in the car.

First, as this article discusses, Leandra’s Law re-classified the crime as a felony instead of a misdemeanor, which results in more severe sentences. Second, it requires the defendant to install an ignition interlock device in every car they own or operate, which imposes added expenses and burdens on the individual. In many cases, the defendant will not be given an opportunity to negotiate a reduction in the charge, so defense attorneys are focusing their efforts on attempting to get a commitment from the court for a more favorable sentence. Another problem that is not discussed in this news article is the likelihood that a civil lawsuit will be brought against the drinking driver and the owner of the vehicle to recover money damages. It’s important to have the experienced counsel to evaluate these issues and be prepared to address them as they arise.