Underage DUI (Zero Tolerance Law)
Strict policies are in place to force young people to abstain from drinking while driving. The zero tolerance law was an important step in deterring young people from consuming alcohol in the first place.
If you are 21 years old or younger, 0.02% is the legal limit for being charged with driving under the influence. One drink can place your driving privilege in jeopardy if you are under 21 years old. An experienced lawyer who knows how to defend clients against the zero tolerance law is your first step in defending your rights in a court of law.
How The Court Process Works
Your first appearance in court is called an arraignment hearing. The charges filed against you are read openly in court and you are asked how do you plead? Your lawyer will receive all evidence from the prosecution concerning the case. This information gives your attorney what he needs to defend you of the charges filed in court against you.
The preliminary hearing is where the judge can decide whether the prosecution has the correct evidence to proceed with the case against you. Your attorney can offer you professional advice on what options you have in moving forward with the case.
Your attorney might be able to plea-bargain your case. It could be possible to have the driving under the influence charge reduced to a lesser charge of reckless driving. This would depend on the evidence that the prosecution has against you. If you have never been in trouble before, the prosecutor just might consider a reduction in the DUI charge.
Your attorney could keep some evidence against you out of court through pretrial motions. He has past trial experiences to know what he can negotiate with the prosecution. It could be video camera evidence or empty containers found in the motor vehicle as examples.
Many cases involving driving under the influence never reach the actual trail. Most defendants will offer a plea to reduce the chances of the prosecution using past criminal behavior against them. Your lawyer will guide you through each step of the process involved in your case. If you decide to plead not guilty, a court day will be scheduled for you to appear at a future date.
Penalties Under Zero Tolerance Law
A first offense of driving under the influence under New York’s zero tolerance law can cause you to lose your license for up to 6 months. You will have to pay a fine and could be sentenced to alcohol education classes.
A second offense could cause you to lose your license for a year. You could possibly be suspended from driving until your 21st birthday. The court could force you to pay for the installation of an interlock device and monthly maintenance fees if they allow you to continue to drive. Fines are increased for a second offense and court ordered alcohol classes would be mandatory.
Hiring an attorney to represent you is important for your future if you are accused of driving under the influence. Your lawyer will assist you in all phases of the process concerning the charges brought against you.
If you are under 21, then New York has a Zero Tolerance Law for driving a motor vehicle under the influence. If you are pulled over by a police officer, and he or she suspects you have been drinking, then you may be detained and asked to take a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you have a BAC level less than 0.05%, then you will not be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), but you may face other charges and the Department of Motor Vehicles will determine if your license should be suspended because you violated the Zero Tolerance Law.
If an individual has a BAC that is higher than 0.05% but lower than 0.08%, then he or she will be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and/or a common law DWI. If you are under the legal drinking age and are charged with a DWAI or DWI, then you will have your license suspended for at least one year.
What are the Penalties for an Underage DWI?
New York has strict DWI laws that can result in severe penalties for those convicted of a DWI. A DWI in New York is defined by how much alcohol is in an individual’s system at the time of his or her arrest. If you have been arrested for an underage DWI, then it is crucial to seek legal advice.
If an underage individual has been charged with a DWI, then the charge will show up on his or her permanent record. In addition, an underage indiviudal facing a DWI charge can face up to 15 days in in jail, a fine up to $500, and a suspended license. Furthermore, an individual who has been charged with a DWI may also be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device for up to one year. If an underage driver has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, then he or she is considered to be impaired to a”substantial degree.”
Although the Zero Tolerance Law does not charge an underage indiviudal who has a BAC of 0.02% to 0.07%, there is an offense for that level of intoxication. If a driver has a BAC of 0.02% to 0.07%, then he or she could be charged with driving after having consumed alcohol. For this type of charge, an indiviudal will not go through a criminal court, but he or she will have the case settled in an administrative hearing. Although the penalties for this offense do not mandate jail time, an individual will have his or her license suspended for at least six months. In addition, an individual charged with driving after having consumed alcohol will be subjected to fines, and the individual will have the charge on his or her driver’s record for three years or until he or she turns 21.
If you or one of your family members has been charged with an underage DWI or DWAI, then it is vital to contact an experienced legal team immediately. The legal experts at Raiser & Kenniff, PC, have 30 years of experience in the legal field. The attorneys at the law firm can provide you with the legal advice you need. Contact Raiser & Kenniff, PC, today for a risk-free consultation.