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Long Island man facing DWI charges under Leandra's Law

A Stewart Manor, New York, man is facing multiple charges after an accident in New Hyde Park. According to police, the 52-year-old man was intoxicated when he crashed into two cars. Further, they say, three young children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old were riding in the back of his pickup truck with no restraints. The children's mother was reportedly in the vehicle as well.

The accident, in which the pickup truck allegedly struck two cars, occurred at 11th Avenue and Covert Avenue, near the defendant's home. A resident who lives nearby said, "I thought it was coming through our house – that's how loud it was."

The pickup truck driver is facing charges of aggravated DWI, endangering the welfare of children, carrying children who are unrestrained and excessively tinted windows. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorney said that the truth will be revealed at his client's next court appearance.

He has been charged under the Child Passenger Protection Act, which is also known as Leandra's Law. The law, signed by Gov. Paterson in 2009, was named after an 11-year-old girl who was killed when the SUV in which she was riding, along with a number of other children, crashed in Manhattan. She was the only fatality in that crash. The law mandates enhanced penalties, including longer sentences, for people convicted in New York of DWI with passengers under the age of 16 in the vehicle. Another provision of the law is mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for anyone convicted of DWI.

New York prosecutors take DWI charges very seriously, particularly when there are children involved. Nassau County's acting district attorney said, "[T]hat's why we fought very hard to pass Leandra's Law." Experienced legal representation is essential for anyone facing such charges.

Source: CBS New York, "L.I. Man Accused Of Driving Drunk, Crashing Pickup Truck With 3 Kids," June 22, 2015

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