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New York Zero Tolerance and Per Se DWI: What Does it Mean for an Underage Driver?

Underage Drinking and Driving in NY

In New York, there are special laws that apply to underage motorists. Drivers who are under the age of 21 are prohibited from driving with even the slightest amount of alcohol in their system.  If a driver under 21 is stopped for drinking and driving in New York, the penalties can be very harsh.

What is New York State’s DWI Zero Tolerance Law?

New York State has a Zero Tolerance Law.  This law applies to anyone under 21 years of age and operates a motor vehicle while under the influence.  More specifically, zero tolerance law applies to any motorist under 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of .02% (minimum) and up to .08% (maximum).  Zero tolerance applies even if the motorist is not impaired.

What is Per Se DWI For Underage Drivers?

In addition to zero tolerance, New York has Per Se DWI laws that apply to underage motorists. With a Per Se DWI, the DWI charge is based on blood alcohol concentration, regardless of impairment.  This means that an underage driver with a BVAC of .02% or higher, but less than .08%, can receive a citation even if their driving ability was unaffected.

How Can an Officer Determine my Blood Alcohol Content?

If you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you were driving under the influence, he may be required to submit to a breath test to determine your blood alcohol level.

Do I have to Consent to a Breath Test?

Since New York is an implied consent state, a motorist is deemed to have given consent for a breath, blood, urine, and/or saliva test to determine alcohol content.  If you refuse, you may be subject to harsher penalties.

If you are under the age of 21, and were charged with a DWI, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.

Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.


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