Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that individuals who drive drunk with a conditional license will now face a felony, which is the same penalty for those who drive drunk with a revoked license. Prior to today, driving drunk with a conditional license was only a traffic infraction.
Today, tough new laws are going into effect to keep drunk drivers off our roads, Governor Cuomo said. Strengthening Leandras Law and increasing penalties will continue the States efforts to keep dangerous and irresponsible drivers from getting behind the wheel and putting themselves and others at risk. Drinking and driving have no place in New York, and we will make sure those who break the law will be properly penalized for it.
Conditional licenses are issued to drivers who lose their license for drunk driving but have enrolled in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program run by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A conditional license may be used only for driving to and from essential destinations such as work, school, and medical appointments.
Also taking effect today are several provisions that strengthen Leandras Law, specifically those that deal with the required installation of an ignition interlock device on vehicles owned, or operated, by a person convicted of misdemeanor or felony driving while intoxicated or other alcohol-related offenses. Ignition interlock devices prevent a driver under the influence of alcohol from operating a motor vehicle.
Leandras Law, which took effect in December 2009, is named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a crash while riding in a car driven by a drunken driver. In addition to the ignition interlock requirement, the law also made it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 16 in a vehicle. Since the law took effect to October 22, 2013, more than 3,300 individuals across New York State have been arrested under Leandras Law.
The new provisions that take effect today:
- Limit the circumstances in which a court can waive the installation of an interlock device to only when a person under oath attests that he or she is not the owner of a motor vehicle and will not operate any vehicle during the period of the interlock restriction. Lying under oath would be considered perjury. As of June 2013, more than 14,000 drivers had ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.
- Clarify that youthful offenders are subject to the same ignition interlock requirements that are applicable to adults.
- Authorize the imposition of ignition interlock devices prior to sentencing as a preventive measure.
- Increase the minimum requirement for installation of an ignition interlock device from six months to one year.