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What are the underage drinking laws in New York?

When teenagers get in trouble with the law, they often fear that it will seriously impact them in adulthood. Those accused of underage drinking could indeed face serious penalties if they are convicted. In addition, this traffic violation could lead to more serious charges, depending on the circumstances. It is therefore important that you understand the laws regarding underage drinking and the potential penalties so that you understand your defense options.

What are the underage drinking laws in New York? The state of New York has zero tolerance for underage drinking. The zero tolerance law focuses on underage drinking and driving. According to the law that was enacted in 1996, if a driver is under the age of 21 and is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 or higher, they could be charged with an underage DWI.

An underage DWI carries several penalties. If convicted, you will have a suspended license for at least six months. In addition, you will have to pay a fine for the charge as well as a fee to reinstate your driver's license.

If you are charged with an underage DWI and you already have one or more on your record, you could endure harsher penalties. For example, your driver's license could be revoked for one year or until you turn 21, whichever is later. Furthermore, you will be required to pay a higher fine for the charge and fee to get your license back.

Lastly, if your blood alcohol content is found to be 0.07 or higher, you could have even harsher DWI penalties imposed against you, which could include jail time. Because serious penalties could result from an underage DWI, underage drivers should be aware of their defense rights. A strong defense or plea bargain could help the drivers like you get the charges against them reduce or dismissed.

Source: Assembly.state.ny.us, "Teen-Age Drinking And The Law," accessed on Jan. 27, 2015

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