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DWI offenses, ignition interlock and Leandra’s Law

New York State residents who are placed under arrest for DWI offenses might have a vague notion of the penalties they will face if they are convicted. Depending on the circumstances, the potential consequences can include hefty fines, a suspension of driving privileges and even a jail sentence. However, there are other penalties that can be assessed and people are frequently unaware of them. In addition, there are subsets of the law that drivers might not know about. A penalty that is often ignored is the ignition interlock device. A law that can cause longer-term problems is called Leandra’s Law.

The court will order anyone who was convicted of DWI or aggravated DWI to install and maintain an ignition interlock device onto the person’s vehicle or a vehicle that he or she drives regularly. This will be in place for a minimum of one year. The driver will be responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the device. It connects to the ignition and the driver is required to blow into it to check the blood-alcohol content before the vehicle starts. It is possible that the rule that it be installed for one year be cut in half that with no incidents.

Leandra’s Law is when there is a driver who commits DWI offenses with a person younger than 16 in the vehicle. If there is a conviction on this charge, it will be a class E felony and the penalties can rise to as many as four years in jail. It is also a felony to drive under the influence while on a conditional license. A conditional license is given to a person who was convicted of an offense related to DWI. The conditional license generally allows the person to drive to places where he or she must go as part of a daily routine such as work, school or for medical care. Failing to comply can result in the license being revoked.

People who are stopped by law enforcement for a DWI investigation need to be cognizant of the litany of penalties they might face if they are convicted. It is possible that law enforcement did not initiate the stop according to protocol or there was an issue with the testing procedures. Discussing the matter with a drunk driving attorney can help to lodge a defense.

Source: dmv.ny.gov, “The Consequences — The Ignition Interlock Program and Leandra’s Law,” accessed on April 11, 2017

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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