As of August 15, 2010, the penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of New York became more stringent.
What caused this change and what sort of penalty does a driver with a DWI conviction face?
The changes in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law came about because of the death of Leandra Rosado. Leandra, an 11-year-old girl, died in a vehicle crash. She was a passenger in a car driven by the intoxicated mother of one of Leandra’s friends. Subsequently, the state legislature made changes that strengthened the laws pertaining to DWI offenses. Effective August 15, 2010, the court must require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle of any driver convicted of DWI.
About the IID
The IID is about the size of a mobile phone and connects to the ignition system of a vehicle. The driver must blow into a mouthpiece to provide a breath sample. A breath alcohol content (BAC) reading of 0.025 or higher will prevent the vehicle from starting. Even when the driver passes the test, rolling tests will occur to ensure that he or she is still alcohol-free while operating the vehicle.
A look ahead
A driver arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated should seek legal guidance promptly because mistakes happen. For example, an arresting officer can make an administrative error. The calibration on a machine the driver used for a breath test might be out of date. It is important to challenge charges that could result in a conviction, installation of an IID and an overall negative impact that could affect the driver for years.