Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov

For immediate release: Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010


Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law) arrests in New York State

  • There have been 392 arrests for aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child under 16 reported to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) from Dec. 18, 2009 (the effective date of the Law) through Aug. 8, 2010.
  • Arrests have been reported in 54 of the state’s 62 counties (see the attached chart for a county-by-county and gender breakdown of reported arrests).
  • In the Long Island/New York City area, there have been: 44 arrests reported to DCJS from Suffolk County, 25 from Nassau County, six from Kings County, three each from Bronx County and New York County and two from Queens County.
  • The top five counties in the state for reported arrests are as follows: Suffolk (44), Erie and Westchester (32 each), Nassau (25) and Monroe (22).

Leandra’s Law/Ignition Interlock Provision Facts

  • New York is currently one of 36 states in the nation with special child endangerment laws that impose tougher sanctions on individuals who place a child passenger at risk while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The final Leandra’s Law provision takes effect Sunday, Aug. 15, at which time New York State becomes one of 10 mandatory, first-offender ignition interlock states. Under the provision:
    • Courts must order all drivers convicted of misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charges – even first-time offenders and regardless of whether a child under 16 was in the vehicle at the time – to install and maintain ignition interlock devices at their own expense on any vehicles they own or operate for a minimum of six months, in addition to any other terms of sentence.
    • Interlocks can be ordered for a maximum of three years for a misdemeanor conviction and five years for a felony conviction.
    • An interlock device costs between $75 and $100 to install, coupled with a monthly fee ranging from $70 to $100.
    • Driving a vehicle without an interlock device after one has been ordered is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
    • Assisting someone in circumventing an interlock device – for example, blowing into the device while sober so the vehicle will start, allowing an intoxicated individual to drive – also is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Approximately 2,000 drivers in New York State currently have court-ordered interlocks. Under this provision, an estimated 25,000 drivers statewide will be required to install ignition interlocks annually.
  • The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has scheduled six trainings across the state to educate law enforcement about Leandra’s Law and the ignition interlock provision.
    • Today’s training at the Nassau County Police Academy is the third in the series of six; more than 80 individuals from 24 law enforcement agencies across Long Island and New York City are registered to take the four-hour training course.
    • The remaining trainings are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17 in Niagara County (Western New York); Aug. 26 in Schenectady County (Capital Region); and Sept. 2 in Oneida County (Mohawk Valley).

The following provisions of Leandra’s Law have been in effect since December:

  • First-time offenders driving while intoxicated (.08 blood alcohol content or more) or impaired by drugs while a child younger than 16 years old is in the vehicle may be charged with a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.
  • Courts must order drivers convicted of DWI with a child in the vehicle to install and maintain ignition interlock devices at their own expense on any vehicle they own or operate for a minimum of six months, in addition to any terms of sentence.
  • Individuals charged with driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater and with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle automatically have their license suspended pending prosecution.
  • Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause the death of a child younger than 16 in the car may be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in state prison.
  • Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause serious physical injury to a child in the vehicle may be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
  • Parents, guardians, custodians and others who are legally responsible for a child, and charged with a driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs while that child is a passenger in the vehicle, are reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment by the arresting agency.

2009 Misdemeanor and Felony Drunk Driving Sentences

  • Last year in New York State, 23,506 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
    • Nassau County: 2,089 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
    • Suffolk County:2,609 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
    • New York City (all five boroughs): 3,967 individuals were sentenced for felony and misdemeanor drunk driving convictions.
Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law) Arrests
by County and Gender*
County Female Male Total
Albany 10 7 17
Allegany 0 1 1
Bronx 0 3 3
Broome 4 2 6
Cattaraugus 1 3 4
Cayuga 0 0 0
Chautauqua 1 0 1
Chemung 1 2 3
Chenango 0 0 0
Clinton 3 2 5
Columbia 5 4 9
Cortland 0 1 1
Delaware 3 0 3
Dutchess 5 9 14
Erie 12 20 32
Essex 0 0 0
Franklin 1 2 3
Fulton 0 0 0
Genesee 3 0 3
Greene 0 2 2
Hamilton 0 0 0
Herkimer 1 0 1
Jefferson 2 3 5
Kings 1 5 6
Lewis 0 0 0
Livingston 1 3 4
Madison 0 4 4
Monroe 12 10 22
Montgomery 0 1 1
Nassau 7 18 25
New York 0 3 3
Niagara 2 5 7
Oneida 2 3 5
Onondaga 9 6 15
Ontario 1 2 3
Orange 6 11 17
Orleans 1 8 9
Oswego 2 2 4
Otsego 1 0 1
Putnam 1 2 3
Queens 0 2 2
Rensselaer 2 5 7
Richmond 0 0 0
Rockland 0 7 7
St Lawrence 2 4 6
Saratoga 2 4 6
Schenectady 1 3 4
Schoharie 0 0 0
Schuyler 0 1 1
Seneca 2 1 3
Steuben 1 0 1
Suffolk 20 24 44
Sullivan 3 5 8
Tioga 0 1 1
Tompkins 1 1 2
Ulster 4 3 7
Warren 3 2 5
Washington 0 2 2
Wayne 2 6 8
Westchester 8 24 32
Wyoming 3 0 3
Yates 0 1 1
Total 152 240 392
* Reported to DCJS from Dec. 18, 2009 through Aug. 8, 2010.