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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Report shows low percentage of NYC motorists installing court-ordered breathalyzers on their cars

Last August, the state of New York enacted the final provision of Leandra's Law, a rather stringent DUI law named after an 11-year-old girl who was tragically killed in a drunk driving accident on the West Side Highway back in 2009.

This provision holds that state courts must order anyone convicted of either misdemeanor or felony level drunk driving charges - including first-time offenders - to install ignition interlock devices on any vehicles they own at their own expense for at least six months.

However, a recent report reveals that the overwhelming majority of people convicted of DUI in New York City have failed to install ignition interlock devices on their automobiles since the law went into effect.

Specifically, it was discovered that only 528 out of the 2,562 NYC drivers (only 21 percent) convicted of a DUI offense had ignition interlock devices.

How then are these motorists managing to skirt the requirements of Leandra's Law?

According to law enforcement officials, some have simply gotten rid of their automobiles altogether, while others have transferred the vehicle title to a friend or family member in order to circumvent the law.

"It's obviously very disappointing," said Rep. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), a co-sponsor of Leandra's law. "Certainly, it wasn't the intent of the legislation."

It is worth noting that Rep. Fuschillo is currently working with Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice to devise a remedy to this problem.

One of the options being considered is a bill that would mandate the immediate installation of an ignition interlock device when a DWI offender registers their automobile.

Interestingly, the State Division of Criminal Justice Deputy Commissioner Robert Maccarone has gone on the record as saying that Leandra's Law has been a success and that the low compliance rate in the New York City may have something to do with the availability of mass transit.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

A DWI/DUI arrest can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.

When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

The New York Daily News "Drunk drivers skirting law requiring them to drive with breathalyzers" Aug. 28, 2011

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