Leandra RosadoSince Dec. 18, 2009, there is a new law effective in New York state: Leandra’s Law.

As a lawyer who has handled way too many tragic drunk-driving cases over the years, I applaud the New York State Legislature for enacting one of the toughest anti-drunk driving laws in the United States.

This law was inspired by a tragic drunk-driving fatality. According to news coverage of the accident, 11-year-old Leandra Rosado of Manhattan was killed on the way to a sleepover party. The accident happened in October on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan. Leandra and six other children were passengers in a vehicle that crashed. It was driven by the mother of one of Leandra’s friends. Unfortunately, this mother was driving while intoxicated. She ended up flipping her vehicle and killing Leandra in a horrible collision.

Leandra’s Law makes it a felony for anyone to drive drunk with a child under the age of 16 years old in the car. This new law automatically elevates what was a misdemeanor DWI to an E level felony if there is a child in the car.

Under this law, regardless of whether there is an accident or not, a drunk-driving adult can be sentenced to up to 4 years in state prison.  In the event there is a crash that injures the child passenger, the drunk driver can be sentenced to up to 15 years in state prison. If the child is killed in a crash, the drunk driver can receive a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

For all those who might argue that these penalties are too tough, I can tell you that if you have ever sat with the family of a child who was killed as a result of a drunk driver these new penalties aren’t nearly tough enough.

I am a weekly commentator on WETM TV’s Law Talk segment, and on Dec. 30 I was asked to discuss Leandra’s Law.

The producers at WETM TV field questions for my Law Talk segment. It airs each Wednesday at noon. If you have a question, a problem, or you would like to hear my thoughts on legal developments, please e-mail lawtalk@wetmtv.com.

Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866  Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com  www.zifflaw.com

E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.