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A loophole for convicted drunk drivers will close if a new proposal passes in the New York Legislature. Leandra’s Law, passed in 2009 following the tragic death of Leandra Rosado by a drunk driver, required all convicted DWI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in any vehicles owned or operated by them for a period of at least six months. The device stops the ignition of the car if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.

Many DWI offenders figured out a loophole to the requirement, however. By transferring car ownership to a friend or relative, who then allows the offender to drive the car without an interlock, they are able to get behind the wheel very easily. Then, after the six month period, the driver would reapply for their license and transfer car ownership back to themselves.

In a new bill in the New York Legislature, this loophole will prevent DWI offenders from avoiding ignition interlock by claiming they don’t own a car.

Changes in the law would include:

  • Requiring ignition interlocks to be installed in any vehicle the offender owns or operates, or, if the offender claims not to own a car, the device must be installed on any car registered to the household or the car used in the DWI offense.
  • If the offender claims to have cause for not installing an ignition interlock, the bill requires the courts to determine the validity of the case. The offender would have to submit affidavits stating what cars they owned at the time of the offense; that they have not transferred ownership; how the offender plans to get to work; and if the offender claims to own no car, they must state that the car used in the offense is not available to them. A judge would then rule on the validity of those claims.
  • Extending the period of the interlock requirement from six months to the full probation or conditional discharge period. It would also include the requirement of wearing a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring bracelet for at least six months which continuously monitors the offender’s sweat and alerts the authorities if any alcohol in the sweat is detected.
  • Withholding an offender’s license reinstatement until either the interlock or SCRAM bracelet requirements have been met

If you have been charged with a Leandra’s Law offense, speak to an experienced New York drunk driving attorney to understand the options available to you.

A new law may be passed in New York State that will close a loophole that allows for drunk drivers to subvert ignition interlock devices. This article is brought to you by Larkin Ingrassia, PLLC.

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