The penalties and consequences associated with drunk driving are steep, but they can be especially harsh for underage offenders. If you are under the age of 21, a DWI can have a significant impact on your life, including your future opportunities. It’s in your interests to take your situation seriously and learn more about what you are up against.
New York does not tolerate underage drinking and driving. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system could land you in jail if you decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. As a minor facing a serious criminal offense, you would be wise to take immediate steps to protect your future interests, fight the charges against you and work to mitigate the penalties you are up against.
Zero tolerance in New York
Zero tolerance laws mean that any alcohol in the system of a minor driver could be grounds for arrest and charges. Even one drink before driving could have serious repercussions on your life. Consider the following about underage drinking and driving:
- State laws consider a driver intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol content of .08%.
- For underage drivers, a BAC of just .02% could result in an arrest and criminal charges, even if the minor does not feel or appear drunk.
- Law enforcement does not have to prove intoxication in order to place a minor driver under arrest for even a very low BAC.
Laws are tough on underage drinking and driving. The point of this is to encourage safe driving among young people, but law enforcement officers still have to follow certain procedures when pulling a driver over, regardless of the age of the person behind the wheel. If you believe the original traffic stop was invalid or you experienced a violation of your personal rights, you have the right to challenge the case against you.
Your defense options
If you are a minor facing DWI charges in New York, you would be wise to act quickly to protect your future interests. You should start by seeking an assessment of your case from an experienced defense attorney from the very beginning.
With the right help, you can confront the charges against you and seek to preserve your driving privileges and keep your criminal record clean. As a minor, there is a lot at stake for you, but you do not have to navigate the criminal justice system alone.