New York State Renews Funding for Ignition Interlock Program

For the second year in a row, the state government will be reimbursing counties this year for a portion of the costs they incur as a result of the state's Ignition Interlock Program. The $3 million award from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee will offset some of the costs of monitoring individuals who are required to participate in the program as a result of DWI conviction.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that connects to a vehicle's ignition system and requires the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the car. If the device detects a blood alcohol concentration of .025 percent or higher, it will prevent the engine from starting.

The driver must provide additional samples at random intervals while the vehicle is running. Some of the devices use a built-in camera to create a photographic record of who provides each breath sample.

A total of 5775 New York drivers had the devices installed between August 2010 and September 2011. Drivers required to use the devices must also pay the cost of installation, which ranges from $75 to $100, as well as a monthly fee of about $70 to $100.

Leandra's Law in New York

Leandra's law, also known as the Child Passenger Protection Act, was established in New York in 2009 in honor of a young girl who was killed while riding in a vehicle whose driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Under Leandra's law, anyone convicted of any drunk driving offense in New York - even a first offense - is required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle for a minimum of six months in addition to any fines, jail time or other penalties imposed. The law also makes it a felony to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol while carrying a passenger age 15 or younger.

Anyone charged with DWI in New York should speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the legal options that are available and what their long-term consequences may be.