This blog has posted several discussions of the New York statute called “Leandra’s Law” that imposes harsher penalties on drivers convicted of driving with a child under the age of 16 in the car. A recent DWI arrest in Hempstead for drinking and driving and a violation of Leandra’s Law demonstrates how carelessness toward a child in an automobile can lead to even heavier charges.
The arrest in question was made in the early afternoon of Nov. 8, 2015. Police were investigating a minor accident on Peninsula Boulevard in Hempstead when they determined that one of the drivers had been driving under the influence of alcohol. (Police did not state how this determination was made.) Further investigation revealed that the man’s four-year-old son had been in the car but had not been in a car seat or secured with a seat belt. The father was charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated (Leandra’s Law) and endangering the welfare of a child (every child under four must ride in a child safety seat).
If convicted of the DUI charges, the man faces a fine from $500 to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. For violating Leandra’s Law, he faces a fine from $1,000 to $2,500 and up to one year in jail (assuming he has no prior DUI convictions). The penalty for child endangerment is a maximum fine of $100 and imposition of three driver violation points.
Anyone who is facing charges for a violation of New York’s drunk driving laws may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in such cases. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can provide a helpful analysis of the facts and law in the case, an enumeration of possible defense strategies and an evaluation of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or outright acquittal.
Source: Long Island News, “Hempstead Father Arrested for DWI with Unbuckled Toddler in Car After Crash,” Nov. 9, 2015