If you or your child has been pulled over for DWI under the age of 21, you may be worried what effects this could have on the immediate and long-term future. At Friedman & Ranzenhofer, our experienced Buffalo DWI attorneys want you to understand that one simple mistake will not ruin your life. However, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible so that you are able to put this incident behind you. Contact our office today.
DWI Under the Age of 21 | Zero Tolerance Law
New York State’s Zero Tolerance Law pertains to underage drinking and driving. If you are under the age of 21 and are arrested after driving with a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher, you may face disciplinary actions from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are charged of “driving after having consumed alcohol,” a special violation under the Zero Tolerance Law, you will be summoned to a DMV Administrative Hearing (failure to attend will result in a temporary suspension of your license). You may have a lawyer present, and you may present evidence, including calling witnesses, in your defense, though you are not entitled to a public defender for an administrative hearing.
“Driving after having consumed alcohol” is a violation, not a crime. If your BAC was at or below .05%, you will not face any jail time in New York State. At the very least, however, the DMV will suspend your license for six months and you will pay a civil penalty of $125. You will pay an additional $100 to have your license reinstated.
DWI Under the Age of 21 | Penalties
If you have no prior driving offenses or violations, you may be eligible for a conditional license, which would allow you to drive back and forth from work and school. If eligible, you may receive a conditional license upon enrolling in an approved Drinking Driver Program – both the program and the license carry additional fees.
If police stop you and find your BAC to be more than .05% but less than .08%, they may charge you with a DWAI, a more serious violation; you will be arrested and summoned to court, and could face up to 15 days in jail, though if you cooperate with police and with the court this outcome isn’t likely. If your BAC is above .08%, you will be charged with a DWI, a criminal misdemeanor. Then the consequences, particularly license revocations, could be higher than they would be for drivers 21 and older.
Contact an Experienced Buffalo Attorney Today
If you or a loved one are facing arrest, trial, or jail time due to a DWI, then you need our compassionate and aggressive DWI attorneys. Contact the experienced Buffalo DWI lawyers at Friedman & Ranzenhofer to aggressively fight for your legal rights. We have over 70 years of combined experience and a track record of successful results. Let our experience work for you.