It is one thing to drive drunk when you are by yourself. But when you are an adult and you have responsibility for a child passenger and you have been drinking, that is a whole other level of problem.
Over the last few years, many states have added additional penalties of child endangerment against people who drive under the influence while having underage minors as passengers. The state of New York was one of the first to pass these statues, known as Leandra’s Law.
What is Leandra’s Law?
Leandra’s Law is also called the Child Passenger Protection Act, and it was signed into law by New York Gov. Paterson in 2009. The law adds a felony charge when a person who drives while intoxicated (a blood-alcohol count of .08 or higher) and has a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle. That exaggerating charge has a maximum sentence of four years in prison, added to the charge for the DUI.
If a person drives while intoxicated and is a factor in the death of a minor who is a passenger in the vehicle, a felony charge will be added that may result in up to 25 years in prison, and 15 years if the minor suffers non-fatal but serious injury.
Who is Leandra?
Leandra’s Law, designed to add additional charges and penalties for those driving under the influence while having minors in the vehicle, was based on the story of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado. The additional charges are meant to further protect children, especially those in a vehicle under the care of adults – it is partly a child-welfare and child-protection issue.
Leandra Rosado was one of eight children riding in an SUV that crashed in Manhattan, New York City, in October of 2009. The driver of the vehicle was the parent of one of Leandra’s friends, and Leandra was the only child to die in the crash. The driver was facing a manslaughter charge for the death, but Leandra’s father fought for more to send a message about the importance of protecting children.
DUIs and Children Don’t Mix
Driving under the influence is a dangerous, risky behavior on the roads, no matter who is on the road. We all have a duty, as adults, to protect children at every opportunity. Driving under the influence while there are children in the vehicle is one of the ways that children can be in grave danger.
If you are involved in a DUI incident, be sure to contact a quality criminal defense attorney to help you defend your rights and help you walk through the legal process in resolving a DUI incident