Group rallies for Leandra's Law

November 13, 2009 9:37:25 PM PST
Late Friday a small group rallied in favor of what's being called "Leandra's Law". She's the 11-year-old girl killed in a drunk driving crash last month.

Prosecutors have charged the driver with manslaughter.

"Leandra's law" would make it a felony for anyone driving drunk with a child on board who's 16 or younger.

Lenny Rosado, the victim's father said, "This is about saving lives. It's about saying it's not okay to have two or three drinks and get behind the wheel with kids."

But in Albany, the law is being watered down. The Assembly would only approve a felony if a driver has a much higher blood-alcohol level, almost twice the current level.

Otherwise, it remains a misdemeanor. In the Senate, there's a push to keep the level as it is now, point .08, but if there's a youngster on board, it's a felony. It could be punished with four years in prison.

Defense lawyer, David Schwart said, "I know on paper it sounds good, but I think we're not analyzing the problem correctly."

Schwartz is urging lawmakers to be careful to not get caught up in reacting to horrible accidents, and to focus on drivers who are reckless.

Schwartz said, "That's what the law should focus in on, we need more laws OUTCUE: that focus on reckless driving and not the point 08, and making it a felony if you're driving safe, it makes no sense."

Yet as of Friday, there are many advocates pushing for the tougher Senate version.

Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen Rice said, "A child in the car with a drunk driver behind the wheel is very simply a hostage, they cannot make a decision to get out of the car."

The law could possibly come up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday during a special session in Albany. It remains unclear whether it will be a vote on a misdemeanor or a felony.