We have written in this blog on several occasions about a New York statute known by the popular name “Leandra’s Law.” Our previous posts have focused on drivers who were arrested on drunk driving charges after drinking alcoholic beverages, but a recent incident shows that Leandra’s Law can have a broader reach.
Leandra’s Law adds additional penalties to drunk driving charges when children under the age of 16 are riding in a car operated by a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case in question, police were called to the Eastern Long Island Hospital to investigate the circumstances of a single-car accident in which an 11-year-old girl was injured. The police investigation revealed that the driver was the girl’s mother and that she was intoxicated due to prescription drugs. Alcohol apparently had nothing to do with the accident.
The mother faces an aggravated DWI charge, endangering the welfare of a child and leaving the scene of an accident. The details of the accident that caused the girl’s injuries are not yet known, but no other vehicle appears to have been involved. Many fact questions have not been answered in this case, including the crucial question of whether this was the woman’s first DUI offense. If convicted of the DUI charges, the mother could be required to use an ignition interlock device, and she faces a possible jail sentence of up to four years and payment of an enhanced fine.
All defendants are entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, facing drunk driving charges can be an intimidating experience. Anyone who faces such charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an assessment of the case, an enumeration of possible defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or an outright acquittal.
Source: Suffolk Times, “Cops: Woman faces Leandra’s Law charge after daughter injured in accident,” Oct. 20, 2015