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What is the meaning of Leandra's Law?

Leandra's Law is one that was written in honor of an 11-year-old child who was killed while riding with one of her friends' mothers. The mother was intoxicated at the time of the collision.

After the crash and the child's death, the New York State Legislature made changes to the state's vehicle and traffic laws. Now, those who drink and drive face heavier penalties.

According to the changes, anyone who drives while intoxicated after Aug. 15, 2010 will have to use an ignition interlock device on every vehicle they operate or own. The individual will also have the IID restriction added to his or her license when issued.

Thanks to the changes in the law, an aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle is now a Class E Felony. Now, no one can operate a vehicle while under the influence with a child 15 years of age or younger in the vehicle. If they do, they face enhanced penalties for doing so.

If an IID is issued to someone, that device must be used for at least 12 months. The court does have some discretion in DWI cases, but 12 months is standard.

Once the 12-month time period is up, the ignition interlock monitor can provide you with a form that allows you to apply for a new license without restrictions.

This law was designed to help keep children safe. If you're accused of driving while intoxicated with a child in your vehicle, make sure you understand how this law could affect you. The right help could help you resolve the issue without as much negative influence in your life.

Source: New York Department of Motor Vehicles, "Leandra's Law & ignition interlock devices," accessed Feb. 15, 2018

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