Leandra's Law (Child Passenger Protection Act) is a New York State law making it an automatic felony on the first offense to drive drunk with a person age 15 or younger inside the vehicle, and setting the blood alcohol content, or BAC, at 0.08. The bill was unanimously passed by the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate and then signed into law by Gov. David Paterson on November 18, 2009.
Leandra Rosado, an 11 year old girl, was killed on the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York City on October 11, 2009 when her friend's mother, Carmen Huertas, flipped the car they were in while allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Six other children were also injured during the incident.
Pursuant to New York Vehicle Traffic Law Section 1192-2a, any person caught operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and transporting a child shall be charged with a Class E Felony. In the event that reckless driving and death or serious physical injury is not a factor, an individual will automatically be charged with a class D felony. Defendants convicted under the new law face a prison sentence of up to four years and a fine of $1000–$5000. The installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device for a term of at least six months is also an expected provision of sentencing (mandatory for all DWI offenses August 15, 2010). Moreover, licenses are automatically suspended pending prosecution and once proven guilty, the person will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and his/her license will be suspended for a minimum of twelve months. First time and repeat offenders are charged with an E level felony, regardless of criminal record.
One day after the new law went into effect, the first person to be arrested was a man from Chatham. New York State Police Captain Scott Brown confirmed that Timothy McEachern, 44, a realtor at Gabel Real Estate of Chatham, was pulled over by state police at 9:50 p.m. Dec. 19 for a traffic stop. McEachern had two children in the car and was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.1, which is over New York state’s legal limit of .08. McEachern was charged with only a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated with two children in the car, not a felony as was required under the new law. McEachern was the brother-in-law of then Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino, as well as her Campaign Manager when she ran in 2007.
James F. Cullen was sentenced in Albany County Court Wednesday (9/3/2014)for driving under the influence of heroin with four children under age 15 in the car.
Cullen was sentenced by Judge Peter Lynch to a year in jail custody, five years of felony probation, a term of Felony Drug Court, $1,000 fine, license revocation for a minimum of one year subject to the Department of Motor Vehicles, ignition interlock for five years of probation, and attendance at a victim impact panel.
- Dilan, Martin Malavé (18 November 2009). ""Leandra’s Law" Passes in the Senate, Strengthening Penalties on Drunk Drivers Carrying Child Passengers". New York State Senate. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Cracking Down on Drunken Driving". The New York Times Company. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Robinson, Cheryl (19 November 2009). "New York toughens drunken driving law". Cable News Network. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
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