Leandra’s Law Law and Legal Definition

Leandra's Law or the Child Passenger Protection Act is a New York State law which makes it a felony for anyone to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when children are in the vehicle. Earlier, it was considered a misdemeanor and could merely be treated as a traffic violation.The law was named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed while riding in the car of a friend's mother, Carmen Huertas. The driver was drunk and speeding and the car flipped over. Leandra was thrown from the car and died of head and chest injuries.

Leandra’s Law, which became effective December 18, 2009, sets some of the toughest DWI ( Driving while Intoxicated) provisions in U.S. Under Leandra’s Law:

  • first time offenders driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs, with a child younger than 16 in the vehicle, may be charged with a class E felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in jail.
  • Courts must order all drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated or aggravated driving while intoxicated to install and maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle owned and operated by such driver for at least six months.
  • Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause the death of a child less than 16 years of age in the vehicle may be charged with a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in jail.
  • Drivers who drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and cause serious physical injury to a child less than 16 years of age in the vehicle may be charged with the Class C felony, which punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
  • Police must make a notation in the form of “C.I.V.” in the “Description of Violation” section of a simplified traffic information if a child less than 16 years of age was present in the vehicle of the person charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, or driving while ability impaired by drugs. The failure to make such notation, however, does not in any way affect a charge for a violation of the VTL provisions regarding driving while intoxicated.
  • Police must report a parent or guardian who is charged with driving while intoxicated or while impaired by alcohol or drugs while their child is a passenger in the vehicle to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.