Tougher DWI laws take effect in New York State

New penalties for drunk drivers take effect November 1.

New York State's tough new DWI laws took effect November 1 in an effort to make the roads safer for you and your children.

Under the new amendments, drivers with a conditional license who get behind the wheel while intoxicated now face felony charges, the same penalty as those with revoked licenses.

Conditional licenses are issued to drivers that have lost their license for drunk driving, but have enrolled in a rehabilitation program run by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These licenses may only be used for driving to essential destinations.

Several new additions to Leandra's Law are also in place. The amendments strengthen the required installation of ignition interlock devices in cars owned or operated by drivers convicted of misdemeanor or felony DWI. New provisions also make it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.

More than 3,300 people have been arrested under Leandra's Law, since it took effect in December, 2009. The law is named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a crash while riding in a car driven by a drunk driver.

"Strengthening Leandra's Law and increasing penalties will continue the State's efforts to keep dangerous and irresponsible drivers from getting behind the wheel and putting themselves and others at risk," said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a release to CNYcentral. "Drinking and driving have no place in New York, and we will make sure those who break the law will be properly penalized for it."