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What is Leandra's Law?

Over the years, reading about drunken driving arrests in New York which have resulted in charges under Leandra's Law has become extremely common.

But what exactly is Leandra's Law and what do charges under this law mean?

Leandra's Law, also sometimes known as the "Child Passenger Protecting Act", is a law which makes it an automatic felony to drive drunk, with a person age 15 or younger inside the car. Under this law, "drunk" means that the driver cannot have a blood alcohol content level at or higher than .08, which is considered the legal alcohol limit in New York State.

Under this law, adults face felony charges regardless of whether or not they have had previous legal run-ins, and whether or not the child in question was hurt.

The law was named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed on New York City's Henry Hudson Parkway in 2009. Rosado was killed when the car she was a passenger in, driven by her friend's mother, flipped over. Six other young children were injured in the accident.

The friend's mother was apparently under the influence of alcohol, and was later charged in the young girls' death. She is currently serving a prison sentence. Following Rosado's death, her father made many public appearances speaking about the need for strengthening laws against drunk driving, and ensuring the future safety of children in New York.

Leandra's Law is now approaching its five-year anniversary, having been signed into law by then-state Governor David Paterson in November 2009, about a month after Rosado's death.

In addition to facing a felony charge, adults charged under Leandra's Law also face a prison sentence of up to 4 years as well as thousands of dollars worth of fines. Licenses are also immediately suspended pending prosecution.

Since this law has been implemented in New York, there have been hundreds of arrests and, quite possibly, thousands of needless tragedies prevented on the roadways of the state.

With this coming Labor Day weekend, thousands will be hitting the road and attending backyard celebrations. While everyone is encouraged to enjoy their time away from work, it is also important to be responsible and look out for the safety of others this holiday weekend- and every weekend.

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