The Otsego County Board of Representatives is asking the state to hold off on the implementation of a component of Leandra's Law.

The anti-drunken-driving legislation, passed last year, enhances penalties for some cases of drunken driving and calls for mandatory ignition interlock devices on the cars of convicted drunken drivers. The devices are intended to prevent drivers who have been drinking from starting their vehicles. Drivers are supposed to purchase the devices, but critics of the law have said there are no guidelines on how this is supposed to occur if drivers can't afford them.

The state set a deadline of Aug. 15 for the implementation of an ignition interlock device program at the county level. But Sheriff Richard Devlin is among the county officials who say more time is needed during a period of financial crisis.

The board passed a resolution calling the measure an unfunded mandate and asking for a delay of two or more years in implementing it so counties can find the appropriate resources.

"There is a cost involved," Devlin said.

Devlin, the county's STOP-DWI coordinator, said more than a dozen counties had passed similar resolutions in recent weeks.

Devlin said he and other Otsego County officials are still trying to determine the potential cost to the county and how it will establish the program.

He said he did not know how many of the devices would be needed.

There are about 500 DWI arrests annually in the county, Devlin said.

But first-time offenders will often get their cases pleaded down to driving while ability impaired and would not be required to get the ignition interlock devices, he said.

Leandra's Law also makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child under 16 in the vehicle and increases penalties when a child is injured or killed.

The law is named after Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old who was killed in a New York City drunken driving crash last fall.

Devlin said there is other language in the law that needs to be "cleaned up."

"Some people feel the law also needs some fine-tuning," he said.

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