This blog has frequently mentioned the enforcement of the New York statute known as Leandra’s Law and the increased penalties that can be imposed on drivers who are convicted of drinking and driving with children under the age of 15 in the car. A violation of the statute is an automatic felony, even for a first offender. In a remarkable coincidence, two Long Island mothers have now been arrested in separate incidents and each has been charged with violating Leandra’s law.
A mother from Rocky Point was arraigned on an indictment that alleged seven counts of criminal behavior, including driving while intoxicated while her 13-year old daughter was in the car. In a similar but unrelated incident, an Oceanside woman was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with her three children, ages 6, 9 and 11, in the car.
The mother was charged with three counts of violating Leandra’s Law and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in connection with either arrest. If either mother were to be convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, she would face loss of her driving privileges, a fine, and a possible jail sentence.
Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. The two mothers are entitled to legal representation and to a trial in which the prosecution bears the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone who faces a similar situation may find it helpful to consult an attorney who specializes in defending accused drunk drivers. A lawyer who is experienced in such cases can provide a helpful evaluation of the circumstances and estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Long Island News 12, “Mom arraigned in Leandra’s Law case,” July 28, 2015. WPIX-TV News, “Woman accused of DWI with 3 kids in car on Long Island,” Julia Jacobo, July 25, 2015.