Drivers under the age of 21 who get stopped for suspected DWI will be subject to New York State’s Zero Tolerance Law. The law applies to underage drivers caught with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent but not more than .07 percent.
The law is called “zero tolerance” but actually takes into consideration that mouthwash or cough medicine can contain enough alcohol to slightly raise a BAC artificially. If you or someone you know is underage, gets stopped by a police officer who suspects drinking and driving, a breath test will be administered by a trained police officer. (Failure to submit to the breath test, by the way, will result in you potentially having your licensed revoked for up to one year.
If the Breathalyzer test reveals a BAC of .02 to .07, the Zero Tolerance Law calls for a traffic ticket of “driving after having consumed alcohol.” You will have to appear before Department of Motor Vehicles administrative law judge. Blowing a BAC higher than .07 will result in criminal charges that will be heard in NY criminal court.
Unlike other DWI charges, while driving after consuming alcohol is certainly a serious crime, it does not carry a potential jail sentence. That being said, you won’t get off scot-free. You face a six-month license suspension and a $125 civil penalty fine.
If you are charged with “driving after having consumed alcohol,” in addition to the license suspension and fine, your charge may remain on your record for up to three years. It’s important that you hire an attorney who will protect your rights, and your license, in court.
If you are facing any charges relating to DUI or DWI in the Hudson Valley, speak to the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP.