What is “Leandra’s Law”?
Leandra’s Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that
- any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated on or after August 15, 2010 must have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate
- the driver will have an “ignition interlock” restriction added to their driver license
See additional information about Leandra’s Law at the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Alcohol, Drugs and DWI page.
What are the different parts of Leandra’s Law and what are the penalties for conviction?
Leandra’s Law includes the following provisions:
Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle
The law established a new Class E Felony. The law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle.
Ignition interlock requirement
A court must sentence a person convicted of either Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle or Aggravated DWI/Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .18 or More to a period of probation or to a conditional discharge. The court must require the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle owned or operated by a person convicted under this law. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.
A court that sentences a person for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction on or after August 15, 2010 must impose a conditional discharge or probation, and a condition of the sentence must be the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle the person owns or operates. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.
What is an “ignition interlock device”?
An ignition interlock device connects to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content in the breath of the operator. The device prevents the vehicle from being started until the motorist provides an acceptable breath sample.
If ignition interlock is ordered by a court, the system must be installed on each vehicle the motorist owns or operates. The device must remain installed for at least six months. The ignition interlock restriction will be added to the driver license record even if the license is revoked. The restriction will appear on the back of the driver license document as “interlock device”.
Courts and probation departments will direct convicted motorists to vendors for ignition interlock installation. The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services website provides details on ignition interlock device vendors and information from the manufacturers of the device.
How do I remove the ignition interlock restriction from my driver license?
Your ignition interlock monitor must give you a form that states that you are no longer required to install and maintain the ignition interlock device in motor vehicles you own or operate. You must take this form to a local DMV office and apply for a new document without the restriction.