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DWI, Leandra's Law and the ignition interlock device

If law enforcement stops you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you will face stiff penalties, including the loss of your driving privileges.

Leandra's Law may play a role in your life if the court convicts you of DWI. This law involves the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which would enable you to drive again, but with restrictions.

About Leandra's Law

This law honors Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old who died in a car crash when she was riding with a friend's intoxicated mother. Leandra's law, which became effective in 2010, adds more muscle to the drunk driving laws in New York State. In fact, it created a Class E Felony, which prohibits anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol from driving a vehicle in which a child aged 15 or younger is a passenger. If the court convicts a driver of either Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle, or Aggravated DWI/Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of .18 or more, the sentence must carry a conditional discharge or probation that includes installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle the person owns or drives.

About the IID

An ignition interlock device is about the size of a mobile phone and connects to the ignition system in your vehicle. Think of it as a computer with an attached mouthpiece. If you intend to drive, you must first breathe into that mouthpiece, and the IID measures the amount of alcohol in your system. If your blood alcohol concentration level is beneath the limit programmed into the IID, your vehicle will start and off you go. Keep in mind that random retests will occur as you drive, just to make sure you do not stop at your favorite neighborhood bar for a quick drink.

About your options

To begin with, you do not have to fight a drunk driving charge alone. Explore your legal options. Losing your driver's license can cause many problems for you. Perhaps you are eligible for a hardship license, but depending on the circumstances of your arrest for DWI, it may be time for you to become acquainted with an ignition interlock device.

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