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Suffolk man earns first conviction under Leandra's Law

A Hampton Bays man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he drove drunk with his young son in his car, becoming the first person to be convicted under a new state law that makes it a felony to drive drunk or to be under the influence of drugs with a passenger under the age of 16, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors say Mario Rojano, 18, had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he drove into a snowbank with his 3-year-old son in his car in December.

Rojano was driving without a license, registration, a valid inspection sticker or insurance when his Honda Civic got stuck in snow on Sunrise Highway in Southampton on Dec. 26, prosecutors said.

Rojano smelled of alcohol and there was vomit on his clothing, police said. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was .20, police said, and a state trooper had to break a car window to rescue Rojano and his son.

The boy is now in his mother's custody, according to Rojano's Legal Aid lawyer Susan Ambro of Riverhead.

In front of Judge Martin Efman in Riverhead, Rojano pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, felony aggravated driving while intoxicated, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

He is due back in court April 20 for sentencing.

Rojano was the first person in the state to be indicted by a grand jury under the Child Passenger Protection Act (also known as Leandra's Law), which went into effect Dec. 18.

Leandra's Law is named after Leandra Rosado, 11, of Manhattan who was killed in a crash in October in which her friend's mother was charged with drunken driving.

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