New York's Felony DWI Law Takes Effect

Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 7:30 AM EDT
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New York's Felony DWI Law Takes Effect

Leandra Rosado

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Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle is now a felony in New York. The state's new Child Passenger Protection Act, called Leandra's Law, takes effect Friday.

     The law calls for drivers convicted of DWI with a child under 16 years old in the vehicle to face sentences of up to four years in state prison.
    
The legislation was named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, of Manhattan, who was killed going to a sleepover. She and six other children were passengers in a vehicle that crashed on Manhattan's Henry Hudson Parkway in October. Police say the driver was drunk.
    
Leandra's law also says drivers intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, who cause the death of a child riding in their car, may face a felony charge punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Over the summer, a Long Island mother of two caused a crash that killed eight people on the Taconic Parkway, including her daughter and three nieces. Her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash, and she had a chemical found in marijuana in her system, toxicology reports showed. 

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