While driving drunk never makes sense, doing so with a child in the car is even worse. According to the nonprofit advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), all but three states have laws that allow prosecutors to upgrade intoxicated motorist charges if they're caught with a child in their car.
Leandra's Law, which went into effect in November of 2009 in New York, is what MADD calls a model law that other states should follow in prosecuting drunk drivers who have kids on board.
Under this law, any first-time offender charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) while a child under 16 is in the car can also be charged with felony child endangerment. The maximum prison sentence for someone convicted of this crime is four years.
Motorists stopped on suspicion of DWI who are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of New York's .08 legal limit will also have their license suspended on the spot.
Also, any motorist who is charged with a DWI in New York is required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for the first six months after the date of their offense. Any individual convicted of DWI charges may also face a jail term.
If an intoxicated motorist causes the death of a child that was riding in their car, then prosecutors can charge them with a Class B felony. If convicted of such an offense, the defendant may be remanded to as much as 25 years in state prison. Any drunk driver that is involved in a crash that injures a child may face Class C felony charges. They may also be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Parents or guardians of children who transport other youth while drunk in New York are required to be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. This may impact a parent or guardian's ability to land certain jobs or gain custody or visitation with their child.
When you've been charged with a DWI offense, whether or not you're convicted will greatly impact your ability to live your life to the fullest in the future. It's because of this that you should only entrust the handling of your case to a Mahopac DWI attorney who has defended thousands of DUI cases.