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Drunk Driving with a Child: Now a Felony Offense in New York

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drunk drivers who have a child in the vehicle will now face felony charges in New York State. Governor David Paterson today signed a bill that will sentence a convicted drunk driver to up to four years in prison if a child under 15 is in their car. If the child is killed, the penalty increases to up to 25 years behind bars. Paterson calls the new law one of the toughest in the country. "We have now given law enforcement officials the tools they need to keep people who act with such reckless disregard for human life off of the roadways of our state," Paterson says.

The legislation, know as Leandra's Law, is named for an 11-year-old killed in a recent accident on the Henry Hudson Parkway.

The law also requires an offender to purchase a device for their car to keep the engine from starting if their breath indicates they're drunk.

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