Felony for Driving Drunk on a Conditional License


New York’s Leandra’s Law, originally passed in 2009, imposed stiffened penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence, especially when there is a child in the vehicle. The law was named after 11-year old Leandra Rosado, who was killed when the driver of her vehicle flipped the vehicle after driving drunk.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation that tightened Leandra’s Law and makes it a felony to drive drunk on a conditional license, among other things.

In New York, a person who has been convicted of driving under the influence may be issued a conditional license when they enroll in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program run by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Similar to California’s restricted license, New York’s conditional license allows the holder to drive to and from specific, necessary locations like work, school, and medical related appointments.

In New York, it is currently a felony to drive drunk with a revoked license. It is, however, only an infraction to do so on a conditional license. The new law makes it a felony to drive drunk on a conditional license punishable by a year or more in prison. Skipping the level of misdemeanor is quite a jump.

“Driving under the influence puts everyone on the road at risk. By strengthening Leandra’s Law we are continuing the strides made in her memory to combat this dangerous behavior and prevent additional senseless tragedy,” said Governor Cuomo.

In California, if a person is caught driving drunk on a suspended license they’ll receive a subsequent DUI charge, a probation violation, and a misdemeanor driving on a suspended license. Driving on a suspended license, when the suspension was the result of a prior DUI charge, can yield some serious consequences such as 10 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, installation of an ignition interlock device, and 2 points on your driver’s license. It is not, however, a felony where a person can face a year or more in prison.

Let’s hope it stays that way.

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