Leandra’s Law – The Ignition Interlock Law for convictions of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

Leandra Rosado, a beautiful happy Bronx teenager, was tragically killed by a driver already convicted and suspended for DWI. As a result Leandra’s Law was instituted affecting every driver subsequently convicted of DWI in New York State

As of August 15, 2010, New York Vehicle Traffic Law ยง1198, more commonly referred to as Leandra’s Law, took effect. This provision sets forth that anyone sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated after August 15, 2010 is required to have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle as a condition of their sentencing, even a first time offender. A person facing a misdemeanor DWI is required to have the interlock system in any and all vehicles they own or operate, from six months to three years. In a Felony DWI case, if driving is permitted, the device will be ordered to remain in the vehicle for five years. The installation of the Ignition Interlock Device costs 100 dollars and maintenance of the IID is approximately $80.00 monthly. At every monthly maintenance appointment the data from the IID is downloaded into the maintainer’s system. If violations are detected they are reported to the Court and/or Probation for possible prosecution on the violation.

The IID is calibrated to violate at .02 Breath Alcohol Content which may present a problem the morning after moderate to heavy drinking. No longer can one use Listerine or breath tablets containing alcohol. The device now has a “rolling blow” so after successfully starting the vehicle perhaps with the help of a sober individual blowing into the tube, all of a sudden the IID starts beeping demanding a breath sample while you are driving. This was meant to counteract the above scenario. If you are a repeat offender the unit comes equipped with a camera so the actual “blower” can be identified. Additionally for repeat offenders, the IID has a location device and is programmed to signal the State Police as to your vehicle’s description and location should a violation occur.

If a violation is present, the offender must get the car to the “maintainer” within five days or it will cease to operate and will have to be towed to the Ignition Interlock Installer for downloading and activation. Any violation will then be reported to the authorities.

Leandra’s Law requires the IID be installed on every car owned or operated, not every car you have access too. If that was the case half of your friends and neighbors would have to have the device installed on vehicles they own. It is important that the individuals living with you, adult children and spouses, title their vehicles in their own names, execute affidavits attesting to the fact that the offender does not and will not operate their vehicles. The court has no jurisdiction over the offender’s spouse or children. A conviction of one party in a relationship could result in the innocent soccer mom driving neighborhood kids with the IID attached to her ignition. This can and has resulted in a loss of marital bliss. Prepare yourself and purchase an additional vehicle for the offender to claim as his/hers.

The law does not apply to a conviction of DWAI, Driving While Ability Impaired, a traffic infraction and not a crime. In Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester, Putnam, New York and Orange Counties the District Attorney will normally offer a plea to the reduced charge of DWAI (assuming no priors or extenuating circumstances), to a blow in the low teens, certainly less than .16. A plea to this charge does not require the IID and does not result in a criminal conviction.

Should you or a friend be facing a DWI, there is never a charge for a telephone consultation! Harold Dee 800-427-6533.

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