The state of New York is tough on drunk drivers, especially those who drive under the influence while a child is in the car. In fact, New York was the first state to enact a DUI child endangerment law that increases the consequences for convicted drunk drivers who committed the offense while a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle. The state’s DUI child endangerment law, or Leandra’s Law, is now a national model for DUI child endangerment laws in other states.
Anyone who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more in New York is charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). A BAC of 0.18 or higher results in an aggravated DWI (A-DWI) charge while a BAC from 0.05 to 0.07 results in a driving while ability impaired (DWAI) charge. The consequences of all DWI charges in New York include fines, jail time, license revocation, and ignition interlock installation.
Drunk drivers convicted of DWI and A-DWI:
- 1st offense – $500 to $1,000 (DWI) or $1,000 to $2,500 fine (A-DWI); up to one year in jail
- 2nd offense – $1,000 to $5,000 fine; up to 4 years in jail
- 3rd offense – $2,000 to $10,000 fine; up to 7 years in jail
Drunk drivers convicted of DWAI:
- 1st offense – $300 to $500 fine; up to 15 days in jail
- 2nd offense – $500 to $750 fine; up to 30 days in jail
Under New York’s Zero Tolerance Law drivers under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.02 must pay a $125 civil penalty fine and a $100 fee to terminate license suspension.
Driver’s License Suspension
All DWI offenses in New York are also punishable by driver’s license revocation. The license of a DWI offender is revoked for six months after a first conviction and at least one year after a second and third. The license of a A-DWI offender is revoked for one year after a first offense and 18 months after a second and third. The license of a DWAI offender is suspended for 90 days after a first offense and revoked for at least six months after a second. Subsequent offenses of any DWI charge can result in permanent revocation of driving privileges.
Offenders under the age of 21 will have their license revoked one year after a first offense. After a second offense, the offender’s license will be revoked for one year or until he or she is 21, whichever is longer.
Enacted in 2009 after the death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado to a drunk driver, Leandra’s Law elevates a DWI to a felony when a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle. Drunk drivers convicted of offending Leandra’s law face up to four years in jail and are required to install an ignition interlock in their car for at least six months. Jail time increases to up to 15 years if the child is injured and up to 25 years if the child dies.