Under New York state law (“Leandra’s Law”), all people convicted of a driving while intoxicated charge must install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles they own or operate. It is a crime to drive without an ignition interlock device when your license is restricted in such a way. Doing so is a misdemeanor.

There has been a recent rise of prosecutable cases in this area, with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles reporting an increase from only 817 in 2011 to 3,726 in 2016. In some cases, the devices were removed. In others, the individual charged never installed them.

One New York county looks to refuse plea bargains

A change is coming to the way prosecutors in Albany County approach a violation of ignition interlock device obligations.

In Albany, county prosecutors have been allowing municipal attorneys in local courts to prosecute these misdemeanor cases. However, the DA’s office will handle such prosecutions themselves from now on, and refuse to allow plea bargains. This is a direct attempt to seek more severe sentencing for a violation.

Is this reflective of a larger change?

In New York City, a violation of ignition interlock device obligations is already prosecuted aggressively. DWIs have long been a target of police and the courts in New York, and failing to abide by the requirements can lead to significant additional penalties.

If you have questions on the legal obligations regarding driving after being charged with a DWI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Doing nothing and failing to follow the requirements can lead to significant penalties.