Leandra’s Law a Reality: Current Misdemeanor DWI to Become Felony if Child in Vehicle

The NYS Senate, Assembly and Governor have all agreed. If you perpetrate the misdemeanor crime of DWI / DUI in New York and there is a child in the vehicle who is 15 years old or younger, then the crime will be “bumped up” to an “E” felony punishable by up to 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for a first time offender. Prior to this change, one could be charged with misdemeanor VTL 1192.2, VTL 1192.3 and 1192.4 (New York’s DWI / DUI statutes) as well as the misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the event one drove drunk with a child in the car (certainly, other charges might be applicable as well). From the NYS Senate press release:

“Under Leandra’s Law, driving impaired or with at least a blood alcohol level of .08 with a child passenger age 15 and under, is a Class E felony – for both first-time and repeat offenders. The offense carries a sentence of one to four years in state prison, a fine of $1000 to $5000, and the issuance of a mandatory ignition interlock device.”

“The measure mandates that ignition interlock devices are to be standard sentencing on all DWI-related offenses, mirroring legislation already passed in the Senate earlier this year.”

“In the event of serious physical injury or death to a child, Leandra’s Law increases penalties. In instances of injury to a child, the driver would be charged with a Class D felony and face a state prison sentence of one to seven years. If reckless driving is a contributing factor, the charge would be a Class C felony and carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.”

“If the driver causes the death of a child, the charge would be a Class C felony and carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. If reckless driving is a contributing factor, the driver would be charged with a Class B felony and faces a prison sentence of up to 25 years.”

UPDATE: LEANDRA’S LAW – VTL 1192.2a(b) – Further Defined

Updated: