Staten Island man is the first hit by new State DWI law

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Leandra's Law, which passed in the Senate Friday, is best known for making it a felony to drive drunk with a child in the car, but Bernardo Gonzalez of Staten Island, the first person sentenced under it, was driving alone.

Under the new law, a felony DWI conviction means at least six months with a mandatory ignition interlock which keeps the car from starting and notifies police if it senses alcohol on the driver's breath. Gonzalez was arrested October 3 for driving with a revoked license and a BAC of .239, just short of three times the legal limit, and was charged with a felony because of a previous DWI conviction. He was also sentenced to 60 days in jail, loss of his license for a year, and use of the ignition device for anywhere between six months and three years. DWI with a child under 15 in the car is now a felony, with increasing penalties if the child is injured or killed.

Lenny Rosado has been lobbying Albany for the new law in memory of his 11-year-old daughter Leandra who was killed in a drunk driving accident on the Henry Hudson last month. Rosado, who was there yesterday when Governor Paterson signed the bill, said he hopes to get Leandra's Law passed across the country.

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