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Dec 28, 2009 4:19 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Police: Hampton Bays man among first charged under tough new DWI law

Dec 28, 2009 4:19 PM

A Hampton Bays man was arrested Saturday evening when he was caught driving drunk with his 3-year-old son in the car, according to New York State Police.

State Police said a trooper had responded to a report of a westbound vehicle that had driven off the road and into the center median of Sunrise Highway in Southampton at around 5 p.m. on December 26. The driver, Mario Rojano, 18, was charged with felony aggravated DWI/child in vehicle and endangering the welfare of a child.

When Mr. Rojano was discovered intoxicated and with his son in the vehicle, he was charged under Leandra’s Law, a new state law that makes driving drunk with a child in the car a felony.

Police said Mr. Rojano’s blood alcohol content was 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Mr. Rojano was taken to the State Police Barracks in Riverside, where he was processed, then later arraigned at Southampton Town Justice Court by Justice Deborah Kooperstein. He was remanded to Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail.

An investigation is continuing in conjunction with the Suffolk County Child Protection Unit, police said.

Leandra’s Law is named for Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old Manhattan girl who was killed in a DWI crash last October. The law went into effect on Friday, December 18.

The law increases penalties for motorists found to be driving drunk with a child under 16 in the vehicle. A potential prison term of up to four years is set by the new law. If a child is injured in a DWI crash, the potential sentence increases to 15 years, and if a child is killed, the jail term could be up to 25 years.

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