What Is Leandra’s Law?

New York does not tolerate driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties are harsh and the repercussions can follow you for a long, long time. This is especially true if your DWI is subject to Leandra’s law.

An Understanding of Leandra’s Law

Far too many New Yorkers have been arrested and charged with violating Leandra’s Law. One of the harshest DWI provisions in the U.S., Leandra’s Law is named after Leandra Rosado. Leandra Rosado was eleven years old when she was killed in a car crash. The driver of her car had been drinking several hours before the crash and lost control of the vehicle as it traveled along the Hudson Parkway. Leandra’s Law became effective on December 18, 2009.

Here are some of the key provisions of Leandra’s law:

  • All drivers convicted of a DWI or aggravated DWI must be ordered by the court to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they own or operate for a minimum of 6 months.
  • First-time DWI offenders that had a child less than 16 years of age in the vehicle may be charged with a Class E felony with a potential penalty of up to four years in State prison.
  • A driver who operated their vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and caused the death of a child in the vehicle who was under 16 years of age can be charged with a Class B felony. This is punishable by up to 25 years of incarceration in a state prison.
  • A driver who operated their vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and caused serious physical injury to a child in the vehicle who was under 16 years of age can be charged with a Class C felony. This is punishable by up to 15 years in State prison.
  • If a parent or guardian is charged with driving while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs while their child is a passenger in the vehicle, law enforcement must report it to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

As you can see, New York has severe repercussions in place for those convicted of a DWI. This is particularly true when a minor was involved. The fact is that prosecutors will go after alleged offenders with the full resources of the state and will be looking to set an example of a person facing such charges and send a message to others who may even consider drinking and driving or driving while under the influence of drugs.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are facing a New York DWI charge, now is the time to retain dedicated legal defense counsel. Do not delay in reaching out to the tenacious attorneys at CDH Law. We will begin to mount the most rigorous defense possible against all charges you face. Facing criminal charges is a fight for a defendant’s life. Get legal representation you can count on. Contact us today.

Posted in DWI

“Not Guilty” Verdict After DWI Trial

Our client was charged with Driving While Intoxicated. Police arrested her at a restaurant, alleging her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcoholic beverages. No witnesses observed her driving her car. At trial, we pointed out a lack of evidence that our client refused the breathalyzer test as alleged.  This helped overcome the presumption of intoxication that exists in any case involving a “refusal.”  Through cross-examination, we demonstrated that several Field Sobriety Tests which would have been appropriate were not completed at the scene of the arrest.  This further undermined proof of intoxication. Other witnesses also testified that they did not believe our client was intoxicated at the time. Focusing on the fact that no one witnessed our client operate a motor vehicle, and the weak proof of intoxication, we were successful in convincing the court there was reasonable doubt and our client was acquitted.  Our associate Brian Tedd was lead counsel on this case.

Posted in DWI

Can a New York DWI Be Reduced?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York is a serious offense. Law enforcement has been working hard to try and reduce the number of DWIs and this means that they have been cracking down on those violating the state drunk driving laws. The good news is that, if you have been charged with a DWI, you may be eligible for a reduction in the charge level or, in some instances, have the charges dropped completely.

Can a New York DWI Be Reduced?

Under certain circumstances, a New York DWI charge may be reduced to Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). A DWI is a misdemeanor offense and is considered to be a criminal charge. Alternatively, a DWAI is a violation and is not considered to be a crime. This means that, in addition to a reduction in the severity of the potential penalties, you will not have anything end up on your criminal record. A criminal record can provide complications for you when applying for things like a job or housing. A DWAI, however, can still mean up to 15 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. It is still much better than the $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, and the longer driver’s license suspension that can come with just a first-time conviction for DWI.

A DWI is reduced to a DWAI through what is called a “plea bargain.” A plea bargain is worked out with a state prosecutor if the circumstances merit it. There are certain circumstances in which you are more likely to be offered a plea bargain than in others. For instance, if there were no aggravating factors associated with your DWI case, such as a higher blood alcohol level, an accident, or an accident that resulted in injuries. If you blew a low BAC on a Breathalyzer test, you are much more likely to be offered a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, you are essentially agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for having the more severe charge against you dropped. It is a binding agreement.

In some cases, you may be able to get your DWI charge dropped altogether. Often, this is most possible when a good attorney is able to find serious legal issues with you case. For example, if there is doubt about whether the officer had probable cause to pull you over in the first place, then that is one reason charges may be dropped. If there were questionable field sobriety test results or possible errors with conducting the Breathalyzer test, those might be other reasons charges would be dropped. If there is enough doubt cast over the strength of the DWI case against you, prosecutors may not want to risk going to trial and risk losing and so they opt to have the charges against you dropped instead.

New York DWI Attorney

With a skilled attorney at CDH Law by your side, you have already taken a big step towards the possibility of having your DWI charges reduced or dropped altogether. We work to serve the best interests of our clients and that includes fighting all criminal charges they face. Contact us today.

Posted in DWI

What is the Difference Between DWI and DWAI?

New York DWI Versus DWAI

While most people have heard of driving under the influence DUI, that is not actually what it is called in the State of New York. In New York, what is commonly referred to as a DUI is actually called a DWI or driving while intoxicated. In addition to a DUI, a person in New York may also face a DWAI charge. DWAI stands for “driving while ability impaired.” So, now the question presents itself: what is the difference between DWI and DWAI?

What is the Difference Between DWI and DWAI?

You can be charged with DWI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at a level of .08 or higher or there is other evidence of you showing signs of intoxication at this level. An aggravated DWI is when you have been operating a vehicle with a .18 BAC or higher. A DWI conviction is likely to result in a fine, jail time, and the suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, those found guilty of driving while intoxicated will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is essentially a Breathalyzer that connects to the engine of the vehicle. The driver is required to blow into the Breathalyzer in order to start the engine. If the Breathalyzer detects any alcohol, the engine will not start. In the State of New York, every driver found guilty of DWI must install the ignition interlock device in their his or her vehicle for a minimum time period of one year.

DWAI is actually a category which has more specific infractions associated with it. You see, DWAI is specific to which substance is impairing the driver. New York provides for three different types of DWAI offenses. These are:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol: This offense applies if a driver has greater than a .05 BAC, but less than a .07 BAC or shows other signs of impairment by alcohol. If convicted of this offense, a person faces a mandatory fine ranging between $300 and $500, a maximum jail term of 15 days, and mandatory driver’s license suspension for 90 days.
  • Driving While Impaired by a Single Drug Other than Alcohol: If a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired by a drug other than alcohol, whether it is a legally obtained prescription drug, or an illegal drug, he or she may be charged with this offense. If convicted, the driver faces a mandatory fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, a maximum jail term of 1 year, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 6 months
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: This offense is applicable if a driver is found to be operating a vehicle while impaired by more than one drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol. A person convicted of this faces a mandatory fine ranging between $500 and $1,000, a maximum jail term of 1 year, and suspension of his or her driver’s license for a minimum of 6 months.

A DWI or DWAI will remain on your driving record for 10 years. Additionally, your car insurance carrier may cancel your policy. If they do not cancel your policy, they may still increase your premium rates due to the seriousness of the offense you were convicted of.

Representing You in the Face of a DWI or DWAI Charge.

Whether it is a DWI or DWAI charge, the seriousness of the situation is very real. Both offenses carry serious penalties and will have a lasting impact on your life should you be convicted. Get the experienced DWI and DWAI attorneys at CDH law on your side and be confident knowing you are not going through this alone. Contact us today.

Posted in DWI