Most people who drive in New York have probably heard people talk about various laws related to or penalties for drunk driving offenses. It is all but impossible to get through a major holiday time without seeing billboards, signs or more about designated drivers or drunk driving checkpoints. Driving while intoxicated laws in New York can be tough and it is important for residents to understand one particular law that is responsible for many specific consequences of a drunk driving arrest or conviction.

Coined Leandra’s Law after a girl who died in an accident in which the driver is said to have been intoxicated, this law makes it possible for a person to be charged with a felony related to a DWI arrest if a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of their arrest. This is the case even if they have never been charged with a drunk driving offense before. The felony charge may be a Class E, Class C or a Class B offense.

The Class B felony charge may apply if the child dies as a result of the accident. The Class C felony charge may apply if the child is injured. The Class E felony charge may apply simply because the child was in the car. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New York an overview of what Leandra’s Law is and how it may impact them if they are ever arrested for and charged with an impaired driving offense in the state.