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What is Leandra's Law?

The holiday season is upon us in New York, with all of its yuletide merriment and festive events. For anyone tempted to drive after imbibing a bit too much at a holiday party, a reminder about Leandra’s Law is in order.

According to New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the statue carries the name of an 11-year-old girl killed in a drunk-driving accident in 2009. She was a passenger in a car driven by the inebriated mother of a friend.

Lawmakers responded by passing Leandra’s Law, which brought stiffer penalties for anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It includes a mandate that drivers convicted of DWI have an ignition interlock device installed on all vehicles they own or drive. It also requires the restriction to be noted on their driver’s licenses.

Along with harsher driving restrictions, the law created a new felony, called an Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle. Anyone who drives under the influence with a passenger who is 15 or younger may be charged with this felony. The law carries the same weight and penalty as another for DWI drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent or higher.

The ignition interlock device is required for at least 12 months, or less with court approval. The device connects to a vehicle’s ignition system and measures the driver’s breath for alcohol content. If the content is unacceptable, the vehicle will not start, effectively enforcing DWI restrictions on the offender.

To remove the restriction from your driver’s license, the company, or vendor, responsible for the monitor must give you a form stating that you are no longer required to have the device installed. You can then take the form to the local DMV office and apply for a new ID without the restriction.

The DWI information included here is of an educational nature; it is not meant to be legal advice.

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