Leandra’s Law – Mandatory Ignition Interlocks


Leandra’s Law is best known for the substantive charge of DWI while driving with a child passenger 15 years old or younger. This became effective on December 18, 2009.  This law also contains some progressive sentencing provisions requiring the installation and use of an ignition interlock. Most striking are the provisions which take effect on August 15, 2010. Here is a summary:


Mandatory Ignition Interlock.  A conviction for any misdemeanor or felony DWI under VTL sections 1192(2),(2-a) or (3), or a conviction for any Penal Law charge that has a violation of those VTL §1192 sections as an essential element, requires a mandatory sentence: 

1) To install an ignition interlock device on any car owned by the defendant for at least 6 months;  

2) Prohibiting the defendant from operating any vehicle without an ignition interlock device (VTL 1198(9)(d)); and

3) Requiring DMV to note the interlock restriction on the defendant’s operating record [VTL §1198(4)(b)]. 

Criminal Charges for Interlock Violations:

·         VTL §1198(9)(a)  (Class A Misdemeanor):  No person whose driving privilege is restricted  to operate a motor vehicle only with an ignition interlock device pursuant  to the Vehicle and Traffic Law or the Penal Law shall request, solicit, or allow any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device , or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device, for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle.

·         VTL §1198(9)(b)  (Class A Misdemeanor):  No person shall blow into an ignition interlock device or start a motor vehicle equipped with the device  for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is so restricted.

·         VTL §1198(9)(c)  (Class A Misdemeanor):  No person shall tamper with or circumvent an otherwise operable ignition interlock device.

·         VTL §1198(9)(d)  (Class A Misdemeanor):  No person subject to a court ordered ignition interlock device shall operate a motor vehicle without such a device.

Other Sanctions:

·        A defendant must provide proof of compliance with the ignition interlock requirement or be subject to the revocation, modification, or termination of the defendant’s sentence of probation or conditional discharge.  The defendant may be re-sentenced as provided by law. [VTL §1198(4)(a)]

·        Failure to install or maintain an ignition interlock may result in the revocation of the defendant’s post-revocation conditional license. [VTL §1198(3)(c)]


What I find most interesting is how the program will be administered.  The bill as passed has tasked the Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives with the mission of drafting the implementing regulations. (Vehicle and Traffic Law §1193(1)(g) Specifically:

                        1) governing the monitoring of compliance

                        2) providing standards for monitoring by departments of probation

                        3) providing alternatives to probation monitoring that counties may adopt.

                       4) providing a system of payment plans or waivers for indigent defendants.


If you have thoughts or suggestions, please post your comments. I am very interested in this topic and will gladly pass on your thoughts.  For more information go to: http://www.statewideinterlock.com Thanks.

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