Changes coming to Leandra’s law: New York gets tougher on DWI

New York legislators have long been concerned with removing drunk drivers from state roadways. They have repeatedly addressed the laws dealing with the penalties imposed for a conviction of driving while intoxicated, making the state's laws some of the most aggressive in the country.

Big changes first came to New York's DWI laws in 2009, when Leandra's Law was enacted. Leandra's Law required most individuals convicted of a DWI to install an ignition interlock device for a certain period of time, and also increased the penalties that would be handed down if minor children were present as passengers in the vehicles. Recently, the state made several changes to Leandra's Law that could impact those facing DWI charges.

One of the biggest changes made to this law concerns those motorists on conditional licenses who are arrested for subsequent DWIs. These drivers lost their licenses due to a DWI charge, but are allowed to drive to work, school or other important places.

If these drivers were then charged with an additional DWI, they would only be facing misdemeanor traffic charges. The new law would permit those motorists to be charged with felonies if they are arrested for a DWI while operating on a conditional license.

The law has also made two changes dealing with ignition interlock devices. The state believed that some individuals were avoiding installing these devices by claiming they did not own a vehicle.

The new law requires these individuals to make these statements under oath, and if it is discovered that they do own a car or truck, they can face perjury charges. Additionally, all drivers under 18 convicted of a DWI will be required to install ignition interlock devices, meaning that they face the same potential penalties as adults.

With New York continually revising its drinking and driving laws, a conviction could have a much more significant impact in the future. Each DWI conviction will only make the potential punishments more severe.

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you need to take steps to protect yourself immediately. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you begin defending yourself from the accusations being made against you.

Prosecutors and police may try to convince you that you are guilty, and have no opportunity to beat the charges you are facing. Know that you have rights, and it is extremely important to ensure that these rights were protected during the entire process. These convictions do not simply go away in the future, as they can come back to make your life difficult for many years after the outcome has been decided.