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2 Long Island men charged with felony DWI under 'Leandra's Law'

Some people in Nassau County may not be aware of a state law called Leandra’s Law. That statute elevates the charges related to alleged drinking and driving if a child was inside the suspect’s car at the time of his or her arrest. Two men arrested on suspicion of DWI recently could face these elevated charges.

One of the men, 42, was driving in Suffolk County when he allegedly hit a parked car. Neither he nor his children, ages 2 and 1, was injured. Police accused him of being under the influence and placed him under arrest. His bail was set at $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash.

About eight hours later, a Far Rockaway man was driving with a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl when an officer pulled him over. Their relationship to the defendant is not known.

The officer claimed to have witnessed the suspect driving erratically. He arrested the driver, 40. He was later charged with driving while intoxicated with a child 15 years old or younger, which is a felony under Leandra’s Law, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The other man received the same charges. However, the Far Rockaway man’s bail was just $2,000.

Most defense attorneys will ask several questions about the prosecution’s version of events when representing a DWI suspect. For example, they will question whether police followed due process, or made an improper traffic stop. Also, the tests officers used to justify the arrest, such as the breath test or field sobriety tests, may have been inaccurate or conducted wrongly.

Source: Long Island Press, “2 Men Accused of DWI With Kids 8 Hours Apart,” Timothy Bolger, April 28, 2014

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