Leandra’s Law, also known as the Child Passenger Protection Act, is a New York State law that makes driving drunk with a child under the age of 16 an automatic felony. The bill was passed by the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate on November 18, 2009.
Leandra’s Law was named after an 11 year old girl, Leandra Rosado, who was killed on the Henry Hudson Parkway on October 11, 2009 when her friend’s mother, reportedly under the influence of alcohol, lost control of the vehicle they were in causing it to flip over. As a result of this tragedy, the legislation made many changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which included stricter penalties for people who drink and drive.
According to the New York Vehicle Traffic Law, any person driving drunk with a child in their vehicle shall be charged with a class E felony. In the event that death or serious physical injuries are not a factor, an individual will automatically be charged with a class D felony. Defendants convicted under the new law face a prison sentence of up to 4 years and a fine of $1000 – $5000. A court that sentences a person for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction must impose a conditional discharge or probation, and an ignition interlock device must be installed in any motor vehicle the person owns or operates.
If you find yourself in a situation where the person who is driving you home has been drinking, tell them about this law and ask someone else you know for a ride.