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Making a defense against an underage drunk driving charge

Getting pulled over by a police car can be a stressful situation for drivers of any age. However, with regards to being accused of drunk driving, those under the age of 21 should understand how being charged with underage drunk driving could impact them. The consequences of an underage DWI could impact the young driver in various ways, which is why it is important to understand the details of the charge and establish a defense.

The state of New York follows the zero tolerance rule. This means that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess or consume alcohol. Moreover, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to driver with alcohol in their system. In most cases, zero tolerance laws make it a criminal drunk driving offense to have even a small amount of alcohol in his or her system while driving a vehicle. This amount could range from 0.00 to 0.02 for blood alcohol content. This means that even less that one drink could result in a young driver being charged with an underage DWI.

According to bill no A07692, penalties are added for underage drivers who fail to attend court after being charged with underage possession of alcohol. If the underage driver fails to attend court or comply with court conditions after they are convicted of an underage DWI, this bill authorizes authorities to suspend the driver's license of the accused.

In addition to facing potential diver's license suspension, a driver under the age of 21 accused of drunk driving could face consequences such as fines and community serves. While an underage DWI conviction does not carry a jail sentence, it will go on the driver's record, carries a fine and could impact their driving privileges and could lead to an increase in insurance charges.

Those accused of an underage DWI should understand their defense options. Taking action against the traffic violation could result in evidence being dismissed. This ultimately could result in reduced or dismissed charges. Underage drivers accused of drunk driving should learn about their legal rights so they can take appropriate steps to initiate a defense against the charges.

Source: New York State Assembly, "Bill No. A07692," accessed May 11, 2015

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