Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
For immediate release: Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010
Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law) arrests in New York State
- There have been 392 arrests for aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child under 16 reported to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) from Dec. 18, 2009 (the effective date of the Law) through Aug. 8, 2010.
- Arrests have been reported in 54 of the state’s 62 counties (see the attached chart for a county-by-county and gender breakdown of reported arrests).
- In the Long Island/New York City area, there have been: 44 arrests reported to DCJS from Suffolk County, 25 from Nassau County, six from Kings County, three each from Bronx County and New York County and two from Queens County.
- The top five counties in the state for reported arrests are as follows: Suffolk (44), Erie and Westchester (32 each), Nassau (25) and Monroe (22).
Leandra’s Law/Ignition Interlock Provision Facts
- New York is currently one of 36 states in the nation with special child endangerment laws that impose tougher sanctions on individuals who place a child passenger at risk while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The final Leandra’s Law provision takes effect Sunday, Aug. 15, at which time New York State becomes one of 10 mandatory, first-offender ignition interlock states. Under the provision:
- Courts must order all drivers convicted of misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charges – even first-time offenders and regardless of whether a child under 16 was in the vehicle at the time – to install and maintain ignition interlock devices at their own expense on any vehicles they own or operate for a minimum of six months, in addition to any other terms of sentence.
- Interlocks can be ordered for a maximum of three years for a misdemeanor conviction and five years for a felony conviction.
- An interlock device costs between $75 and $100 to install, coupled with a monthly fee ranging from $70 to $100.
- Driving a vehicle without an interlock device after one has been ordered is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
- Assisting someone in circumventing an interlock device – for example, blowing into the device while sober so the vehicle will start, allowing an intoxicated individual to drive – also is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Approximately 2,000 drivers in New York State currently have court-ordered interlocks. Under this provision, an estimated 25,000 drivers statewide will be required to install ignition interlocks annually.
- The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has scheduled six trainings across the state to educate law enforcement about Leandra’s Law and the ignition interlock provision.
- Today’s training at the Nassau County Police Academy is the third in the series of six; more than 80 individuals from 24 law enforcement agencies across Long Island and New York City are registered to take the four-hour training course.
- The remaining trainings are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17 in Niagara County (Western New York); Aug. 26 in Schenectady County (Capital Region); and Sept. 2 in Oneida County (Mohawk Valley).
The following provisions of Leandra’s Law have been in effect since December:
- First-time offenders driving while intoxicated (.08 blood alcohol content or more) or impaired by drugs while a child younger than 16 years old is in the vehicle may be charged with a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.
- Courts must order drivers convicted of DWI with a child in the vehicle to install and maintain ignition interlock devices at their own expense on any vehicle they own or operate for a minimum of six months, in addition to any terms of sentence.
- Individuals charged with driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater and with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle automatically have their license suspended pending prosecution.
- Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause the death of a child younger than 16 in the car may be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in state prison.
- Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause serious physical injury to a child in the vehicle may be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
- Parents, guardians, custodians and others who are legally responsible for a child, and charged with a driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs while that child is a passenger in the vehicle, are reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment by the arresting agency.
2009 Misdemeanor and Felony Drunk Driving Sentences
- Last year in New York State, 23,506 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
- Nassau County: 2,089 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
- Suffolk County:2,609 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
- New York City (all five boroughs): 3,967 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
|Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law) Arrests
by County and Gender*
|* Reported to DCJS from Dec. 18, 2009 through Aug. 8, 2010.|