DWIs for NY Drivers Under 21

Young adults are notorious for making rash decisions, most of which have relatively harmless results. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as the decision to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have devastating consequences not only for the driver, but for anyone else who is on the road. To help prevent these types of accidents, the New York Legislature passed a series of provisions that specifically apply to drivers who are under the age of 21 years old. To learn more about the penalties for driving under the influence or possible defenses to a DWI charge, you should contact a DWI attorney who can advise you.

What Happens if I Get a DWI While Underage in New York?

The Difference Between Underage Offenders and Youthful Offenders in New York

In New York, there are two categories of drivers under the age of 21. Those who are between the ages of 19 and 21 years old and are arrested for driving while intoxicated are underage offenders. Anyone who is between the ages of 16 and 19 years old is a youthful offender. Generally, youthful offenders face less harsh penalties than underage offenders and will not have with a permanent criminal record.

New York Has a Zero Tolerance Law for Drivers Who Get a DWI Before They Turn 21

Even if You Are Below the Limit, Drivers Under 21 Face Major Penalties for Drinking and Driving in New York

These two groups face different penalties than others who are charged with DWIs. For example, underage drivers who are arrested for operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol can be charged under the state’s Zero Tolerance law even if their BAC level does not reach the legal limit of .08. In fact, as long as their BAC level is between .02 and .07, an underage person can be charged for drunk driving.

Courts treat a Zero Tolerance adjudication as a civil matter. So the offense will not go on a driver’s criminal record and the driver will not face jail time or probation. Instead, the penalties promote rehabilitation and prevention of future arrests by imposing fines and driver’s license sanctions. For example, an underage driver who is charged with driving under the influence will have his or her license suspended for six months. He or she will also have to pay a fine of $125. If the youth is later arrested for the same offense, his or her license will be revoked for at least one year or until the motorist turns 21 years of age, whichever is longer. Underage offenders may also have their licenses suspended pending prosecution, even if the court has not yet received proof of a chemical test result. Finally, underage offenders are eligible for the Drinking Driver Program. After completion of the class, they will have their full driving privileges restored to them, unless their license was revoked.

Call Today to Speak With a New York DWI Attorney

Underage drivers who are charged with DWIs face unique problems. Retaining an experienced DWI attorney can help ensure that you or your child do not face jail time or probation. To speak with a member of our experienced DWI legal team, please contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis at 212-682-0700 today.