Zero Tolerance Law

Zero Tolerance LawNew 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.

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Charged with a DWAI

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.

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“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.

Applying for a Conditional License

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 you or a loved one is under the age of 21 and has been pulled over for drunk driving, please contact our Buffalo DWI attorneys today. Let our experience work for you.

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