New York state lawmakers want more people who are convicted of drunk driving to use ignition interlock devices. An ignition interlock device is like an in-car breath test. The driver blows in a tube before starting the vehicle, and if the device detects a certain level of alcohol it will prevent the vehicle from starting.
New York is already a first offender interlock state, meaning that courts order all drivers who are convicted of misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charges to install an interlock device on any vehicle they own or use. This must be done at the driver's expense, and it is in addition to other sentencing. However, lawmakers say that the law is flawed and many convicted drunk drivers say they do not have a car in which to install the device. Last week, the state Senate passed a bill to close this loophole.
The new measure orders convicted drunk drivers to wear an alcohol-detection ankle bracelet if they do not have an ignition interlock device installed in a vehicle. In order to get their driver's licenses back, drivers would have to prove that they have done one of those two things.
Ignition interlock devices are just one consequence of a drunk driving conviction. Penalties for driving drunk can also include jail time, a revoked license and fines as well as compromised career opportunities.
Although it is certainly important for the state to take impaired driving seriously and protect public safety, it is also important that innocent people are not convicted of criminal charges. The evidence, as well as the initial traffic stop, is often questionable in drunk driving cases. Those who are charged with driving drunk are wise to seek an experienced DWI/DWAI defense attorney.
Source: 9WYSR.com, "New proposal seeks to tighten Leandra's Law," May 23, 2012