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NY DWI – Children in the Car – Leandra’s Law VTL 1192.2-a(b)

February 4, 2019

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense and has even more significant consequences if you have children in the vehicle. Known in New York as Leandra’s Law, persons charged DWI with children in the car are treated harshly by prosecutors and judges. Because of this, if you are facing a DWI you should seek out legal representation from a New York DWI lawyer to represent you.

What does Leandra’s Law prohibit?
According to Leandra’s Law VTL 1192.2-a(b), it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while having a child under the of 16 in the vehicle.

This law is named after Leandra Rosado, an 11 year old who was killed after being a passenger in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated adult. After this incident, the New York legislature revised the law to include stricter penalties in DWI cases where children were placed at risk by being in the vehicle.

Leandra’s law is broken down into different categories with varying penalties, which include:

  • Class E felony–Those who drive while intoxicated with a child younger 15. This could result in 4 years in prison.
  • Class B felony–Those who drive while intoxicated with a child under 15 who is killed as a result. This could result in up to 25 years in prison.
  • Class C felony–Those who drive intoxicated with a child 15 years old or younger and the child sustains a physical injury. This could result in a 15 year prison sentence.

What other penalties may be imposed?
In addition to the prison terms discussed above, a person convicted of a DWI with children in the car could face substantial fines and restitution costs. There could be court-mandated treatment and probation. A driver’s license suspension would also likely result if you are convicted.

A conviction could also result in a report being filed with Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment who could conduct an investigation. An order of protection could be entered to prohibit contact between certain family members.

Because of these potential consequences, it is important that you seek out representation from an experienced DWI lawyer who can contest the charges or help you negotiate a plea agreement that is just.

Are there any defenses to DWI with children in the car?
Because DWI cases involving children are treated harshly by prosecutors, judges and even juries, it is important to raise any defenses that may be available. Some defenses that may exist in a DWI case include:

  • Errors in the collection and testing procedures used to determine intoxication (e.g., breath alcohol tests, blood test results, etc)
  • Lack of evidence that the driver was intoxicated
  • Violation of constitutional rights (e.g., unreasonable search and seizure, Miranda violations, right to legal counsel, right to remain silent, etc)
  • Lack of probable cause for an arrest or search
  • Errors in the conduct of law enforcement

Each case is unique and may have defenses available that are not readily apparent. A DWI lawyer can review a case to determine if there are defenses that need to be raised. An attorney will know the proper procedure to raise the defense and how to present it to the court in a way that complies with procedural rules.

Overall, the prosecution must be able to prove the elements of a DWI with children case beyond a reasonable doubt. If doubt can be raised, then it may be possible to have the charges dismissed or reduced.

How can a New York DWI attorney help?
By retaining a DWI attorney, you will have an advocate to fight for a just result. They will ensure that you understand your rights and that your rights are not violated. They will take the necessary action to address any issues identified in your case. They will argue on your behalf at all stages of the case, including investigation, bond/bail hearings, preliminary hearings, pretrial conferences, motion hearings and trial.

If you have been charged with DWI with children in the car in New York, then contact us immediately to schedule an appointment.

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