General Rule for DWI 1992(2), 1192(3) (Misdemeanor Offense) convictions: The court must include as a result of any conviction and as a condition of probation or conditional discharge that the defendant install and maintain a functioning ignition interlock device on any motor vehicle he or she owns or operates. This may also apply to any other vehicles owned or operated by other family members who reside in the same home. Ignition interlock rules do not apply to DWI 1192(1) (Driving While Impaired by Alcohol) convictions.
A. VTL §§1192(2), (2-a) or (3)
Leandra's Law requires a court to impose a sentence of probation or a conditional discharge as part
of every conviction for driving while intoxicated under VTL § 1192(2), (2-a) or(3), regardless of
whether jail or prison time is imposed (PL § 60.21).
1 The court must also include as a condition of probation or conditional discharge that the defendant install and maintain a functioning ignition interlock device on any motor vehicle he or she owns or operates. This requirement might also apply to any other vehicles owned or operated by other family members who reside in the same home.
2 This period of probation or conditional discharge shall run consecutively to any period of imprisonment the court may impose and "commences when the defendant is released from imprisonment."
3 As a result, even state prison terms for felony DWI charges require a sentence of probation or conditional discharge consecutive to the prison term, as well as a condition that the defendant install an ignition interlock device on any cars the defendant owns or operates.
4 The new law also amends the Executive Law to provide that the Board of Parole must require as a condition of any parole or conditional release for defendants convicted of "a felony as defined in [VTL § 1193(1 )(c)]" that the defendant install and maintain an ignition interlock device in accordance on any motor vehicle he or she owns or operates (see Executive Law§ 259-c(15-a)). Accordingly, a defendant released on parole or conditional release after being sentenced to a state prison term under VTL § 1192 (2), (2-a) or (3) will be
concurrently supervised by both the Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA)
and the Division of Parole.
B. Penal Law Offenses (PL§§ 120.03, 120.04,120.04-a, 125.12,125.13 and 125.14)
Ignition interlock devices are also required where the court sentences a defendant to a period of
probation or conditional discharge for any penal law offense of which an essential element is an alcohol-related violation of any provision of VTL § 1192. Six Penal Law offenses fall within the
statute, and they are treated differently than convictions under the Vehicle and Traffic Law. For
instance, while the court must impose an interlock condition as part of any sentence of probation or
conditional discharge for these Penal Law offenses, it may not include probation or conditional
discharge in a sentence to a term of imprisonment (except where the court imposes a traditional split
sentence as provided in PL § 60.01(c)). Instead, for defendants subjected to a state prison term,
Leandra's Law amended the Executive Law to direct the Board of Parole to include the ignition
interlock requirement as a condition ofthe defendant's parole or conditional release (see Executive
Law § 259-c (15-a)). There is no provision, however, that authorizes a court to mandate installation
of an interlock device where it sentences a defendant solely to a jail term of one year or less.
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C. Duration of the interlock condition
When imposing a sentence of probation or conditional discharge for a conviction under VTL § 1192
(2), (2-a) or (3), the court must order the defendant to use ignition interlock devices for at least six
months (VTL §§ 1193 (l)(b)(ii) and (l)(c)(iii)). However, where a defendant is convicted ofVTL §
1192 (2) or (3) and has previously been convicted of one or more of those offenses within the
preceding five years, the court must order such devices for the entire period of license revocation,
which may be up to eighteen months (see VTL§ 1193 (l-a)(c)). Of course, the court is also
authorized to maintain the condition for the entire period of probation or conditional discharge.
Penal Law Offenses
Leandra's Law does not set forth any minimum period of an interlock condition imposed for a
violation of one of the six penal law sections that have as an essential element a violation ofVTL §
1192(2), (2-a) or (3). The law only requires that where the defendant is sentenced to a term of
probation or conditional discharge, the court must order an interlock as a condition. Thus, any
subsequent termination of the interlock condition must be made under CPL 410.20, which allows the
court to "modify or enlarge the conditions of a sentence of probation or of conditional discharge at
any time prior to the expiration or termination ofthe period of the sentence."
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D. The cost ofthe ignition interlock device
The projected cost of an ignition interlock device ranges from $75 to $115 per month and
installation and removal fees range from $40 to $100. The total cost for a six month period will
therefore be approximately $500 to $800, which is to be paid by the person subject to the condition
(VTL § 1198(5)(a)). However, the statute also provides that where "the court determines such
person is financially unable to afford such cost," the court may impose a payment plan or waive the
cost altogether. To assist the court in determining whether to waive part or all of the costs, or help
approve a payment plan, DPCAhas designed a financial disclosure form that the defendant must
complete in connection with the application. DPCA regulations provide that three copies of the
form must be submitted to the court prior to sentencing, and that the court should retain one copy
and provide the other copies to the prosecutor and defense counsel. (9NYCRR358.8). The
financial disclosure form may be found on both the DPCA and UCS websites. Where the court
grants the application to waive any part or all of the costs, the ignition interlock manufacturers must
bear the cost.
E. Monitoring the Interlock Conditions ofProbation or Conditional Discharge
Leandra's Law requires DPCA to promulgate regulations to govern "the monitoring of compliance
by persons ordered to install and maintain ignition interlock devices "and to establish standards for
monitoring by departments of probation and other agencies (VTL § 1193(l)(g)). After a lengthy
development process, DPCA issued these rules as Part 358 of Title 9 NYCRR. A copy of the rules
may be found on the websites of both DPCA and the Unified Court System. In brief, the rules call
for the City of New York, and each county outside the City of New York, to establish plans to
provide for monitoring defendants sentenced to probation or a conditional discharge with an
interlock condition. Every plan must designate the probation department as monitor for all interlock
cases made as a condition of a sentence of probation, but may designate an alternate agency to
monitor interlock conditions imposed pursuant to a sentence of a conditional discharge (9 NYCRR
DPCA regulations provide for three different classes of interlock devices, and direct that the monitoring agency, not the court, determine the appropriate class of device for each defendant.
Class I devices have reporting capabilities, store data for later downloading, are programmable and
possess anti-tampering features. Class II devices have all of the features of a Class I device plus
photographic identification procedures. Class III devices contain all the features of a Class II
device, but also provide significantly more sophisticated features such as GPS tracking, real-time
data reporting and infra-red or other low-light camera capability. Not surprisingly, class III devices
are typically more expensive than Class I or Class II devices.
The regulations divide New York State into four regions and require manufacturers in each region to
ensure that defendants need travel no more than fifty miles to have an interlock device installed.
Currently, seven ignition interlock manufacturers have been approved to provide ignition interlock
device in New York, and each region will be serviced by at least four different companies. Under
the regulations, defendants may choose the manufacturer and model of device within their
designated Class (9 NYCRR 358.4(d)(1)).
***A defendant must install interlocks within ten business days after the interlock condition takes
effect, and must submit proof of compliance to the court or monitor within three business days of
installation (9 NYCRR 358.7(c)(1)). Defendants sentenced to probation who live outside the county
of the sentencing court will have their probation supervision transferred to the county where the
defendant resides (CPL 410.80). Defendants sentenced to a conditional discharge who live outside
the county of the sentencing court will be monitored by the monitoring agency of the defendant's
county of residence, but the original sentencing court will retain jurisdiction over the case. Any
violations of the conditional discharge will be directed to the original sentencing court (9 NYCRR
358.7(b)(2)). Out of state residents convicted inNewYork are subject to the provisions of
Leandra's Law, and the rules governing the interstate compact for adult offender supervision under
Executive Law § 259-mmcontrol. Where a defendant is not subject to the compact, the monitor will
cooperate with a qualified manufacturer to allow for regular reporting to the monitor, and the
sentencing court will retain jurisdiction of the case (9 NYCRR 358.7 (b)(4)).
***It is a now a class A misdemeanor for any defendant to operate a motor vehicle in violation of an
interlock condition (VTL § 1198(9)(d)).
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