Now that it is summer and most college students have returned home, there is a good chance there will be more drunk drivers on the road. While being convicted of a DWI is a very serious offense, if you are under the age of 21, the penalties you may face are far more severe. If you are someone who is under the age of 21, you should not be drinking at all, however, if you find yourself in a situation where you have had something to drink and need to get home, do the responsible thing and either find a ride or spend the night. If you are already facing a DWI charge and are under the age of 21, here are some of the questions you may have:
What are the potential consequences of an underage DWI?
Driving drunk is an extremely reckless action, and the state sees it as such. If you are under 21 years of age, you may face even harsher penalties than someone facing a DWI charge who is of age. New York is a zero-tolerance state, meaning if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or higher, you may face the following:
- A suspended license for 6 months
- A $125 civil penalty
- A $100 fee for suspension termination
- Potential ignition interlock device installation and associated costs
- Potential enrollment in the New York Drinking Driver Program and associated costs
Additionally, if you are under 21 and refuse to submit to a chemical test, the potential penalties are even further compounded. They are as listed:
- A $300 civil penalty
- A revoked license for at least one year
- A $100 fee to reinstate your license
- A $250 annual assessment fine for 3 years
Of course, second, third and subsequent offenses will have even further ramifications, so it is very important that you contact an experienced attorney if you are facing such charges. New York State is even less forgiving when it comes to repeat offenders, and you may eventually face permanent revocation of your driving privileges if you are convicted a third or subsequent time.
Are there any defenses to a DWI charge in New York State?
A knowledgeable attorney will assess the circumstances of your arrest. If law enforcement made a mistake during your arrest, or there is another factor that may make any evidence against you inadmissible, you may have a valid defense against your DWI charge. You may have a valid defense if you were stopped unlawfully or if your Field Sobriety Test was not properly administered. Your Field Sobriety Test may not have been properly administered if:
- The officer failed to demonstrate the test
- The officer failed to inform you that you were allowed to remove high heels during the test
- The officer failed to explain all the instructions
- You have a health issue that prevents you from being able to take a breath test
Contact our Rockland County firm
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.