Written by attorney Scott J. Limmer

“Leandra’s Law” Sets Harsh Penalties for Impaired Drivers with Young Passengers

Since the 2009 enactment of Child Passenger Protection Act, more commonly known as “Leandra’s Law,” New York has made it an automatic felony to be impaired by alcohol or drugs while driving a child below the age of 16. Hailed by proponents as the nation’s toughest penalty for impaired drivers with child passengers, Leandra’s Law makes it a Class E felony, punishable by between 16 months and four years in prison, to drive a young passenger while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The penalties escalate if impaired driving cause a child to be injured (the maximum prison term goes to seven years). If reckless driving also contributed to the injury of a child, the maximum rises to 15 years, and if a young passenger was killed by a DWI driver, the maximum prison term can climb to 25 years.

What’s more, those charged with the offense lose their driver’s license as soon as charges are filed. After a conviction, which also brings a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, the driver loses his or her license for at least six months. A driver convicted of the offense of driving while impaired with a child in the vehicle is also reported to the state’s central register of child abusers.

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