Child Passenger Protection Act-Leandra's Law
This law was enacted on December 18, 2009 in response to the tragic death of 11 year old Leandra Rosado, who was killed when her friend’s mother was driving while intoxicated and lost control of the vehicle while taking several young girls to a birthday party. The full provisions of the statute went into effect on August 15, 2010.
Leandra’s Law mandates the following:
All drivers convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DWI, even first time offenders, must install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle they own or operate for at least six months (in practice, judges have been ordering that the IID remain in the vehicle for one year, not six months);
Drivers who are arrested on a first time DWI with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle are automatically charged with a class E felony, which is punishable by 1-4 years in prison;
Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired By Drugs (DWIAD) with the death of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in state prison;
Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired By Drugs (DWIAD) with injuries to a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison;
All drivers charged with either DWI, DWAID or any drunk driving offense with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle are subject to suspension of their licenses pending prosecution.
The ignition interlock device will not permit the driver of a vehicle to start and operate the car unless he or she has alcohol free breath. The IID must be installed at a County approved facility, and will cost approximately $100.00 to install. There is also a monthly maintenance fee determined by the County. If you cannot afford to install the device, and can demonstrate this fact through the submission of financial disclosure forms, the County will pay for the installation.
It is important to note that driving without the Court mandated IID is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, and tampering with the device or having someone else blow into the device is also a class A misdemeanor, both for the driver ordered to install the device and for the person who illegally blows into the device for the party sentenced.
In our experience, the District Attorney’s Offices have a strict no negotiation policy on Leandra’s Law cases, and will not agree under any circumstances to a plea bargain down to a misdemeanor DWI charge. Thus, it is even more imperative that you retain attorneys with the requisite experience and background to defend a felony DWI case under Leandra’s Law, knowing that only a not guilty verdict at trial will prevent a felony conviction on your record.
If you are charged with any DWI, aggravated DWI, DWAID or felony DWI charge, you need to be represented by an attorney with the knowledge, background and experience to defend your legal rights from the moment of your arraignment, through resolution of the case by a plea bargain or trial. Contact us online for your initial consultation today.