The state of New York considers drunk driving to be an extremely serious infraction. This is especially true when it comes to underage DWI charges. When a driver under age 21 has any amount of alcohol in his or her system while operating a vehicle, he or she can face underage DWI charges. It is important to have the right underage dwi lawyer. The penalties are more stringent for young drivers than older drivers who are operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Contact a Syracuse Underage DWI Attorney Today
If you or your child have been charged with an underage DWI in New York, it’s essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are convicted, the penalties for an underage DWI will affect your life for a long time. In addition to jail time, you could face fines, administrative penalties, and a permanent criminal record. Contact the Syracuse underage DWI attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation.
New York Has a Zero Tolerance Policy on Underage DWI
When it comes to drivers under age 21 who drink and drive, New York has a zero-tolerance policy. Drivers aged 21 and older cannot be convicted of a DWI unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08 percent or higher. Drivers under age 21 who are found to have .02 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration in their system will face criminal charges. As a result, underage drivers who are not impaired by alcohol while driving can still be convicted of a DWI in New York.
Technically, New York’s underage DWI laws are not zero tolerance. In some states, a driver can be charged with a DUI for any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system, as low as .01 percent blood alcohol concentration. In New York, the lower end of the threshold is .02 percent BAC to account for using mouthwash that contains some alcohol, small amounts of cough medicine, or small amounts of wine for religious practices. However, New York prosecutors still take underage DWI offenses seriously.
The Penalties for Underage DWI in New York
The penalties for an underage DWI in New York are severe, and they depend on the driver’s blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest. When the underage driver’s blood alcohol content is between .02 percent and .07 percent, the driver will be charged with driving after having consumed alcohol.
This is considered a civil offense, and the driver will need to appear before an administrative judge through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The penalty for this offense is a six-month driver’s license suspension and a fine of $125. If the driver does not have a prior conviction, his or her license will be revoked for one year or until the driver turns 21, whichever is longer.
Underage DWAI Penalties
When the driver’s blood-alcohol level is over .05 percent but less than .08 percent, he or she will face the criminal charge of driving while ability is impaired by alcohol (DWAI). This is also a traffic infraction, but it is heard in criminal court. If this is a first-time conviction, the driver will be punished by up to 15 days in jail, a one-year driver’s license revocation, and a maximum fine of $500.
Underage DWI Per Se Penalties
Law enforcement can charge an underage driver with a DWI per se when the driver has a blood alcohol concentration equal to or greater than .08 percent. For first-time offenders, an underage DWI per se is punishable by up to one year in jail, a driver’s license revocation for one year, and a maximum fine of $1,000. Even if the driver was not materially impaired due to drinking alcohol, he or she could still be convicted of underage DWI per se in New York.
Enhanced Underage DWI Penalties
Underage DWAI and DWI cases also carry enhanced penalties. For example, a DWAI conviction would typically carry a 90-day driver’s license suspension. When the driver is under the age of 21, the same DWAI charge carries a one-year driver’s license suspension. Additionally, being convicted for a DWI before age 21 and beginning adulthood with a criminal record has serious and reverberating consequences. Working with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney is crucial to your freedom.
It is possible for those convicted of an underage DWI in New York to receive a conditional driver’s license. The driver can use a conditional license to drive to work or school if they complete an impaired driver education program. The penalties are more serious when an underage driver is charged with DWI or DWAI, especially for a second or subsequent conviction.
The Lasting Implications of an Underage DWI/DWAI Conviction
A conviction, and potential ramification, for any type of underage impaired driving charge can detrimentally affect a young driver’s life. Drivers cannot expunge criminal charges related to intoxicated driving. As a result, a DWI charge will be on the driver’s record for life. DWI charges can prevent an individual from being hired for certain positions– decreasing a person’s employment prospects.
The sooner you reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to build your legal strategy, the better. If you or your loved one has been charged with an underage drinking and driving offense, reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary to protect your freedom.
Discuss Your Case With a Syracuse Underage DWI Lawyer Today
An underage DWI conviction has the potential to jeopardize a young person’s future before it is even started. DWI convictions can make it difficult to obtain scholarships, find housing, find a job, or even attend college. At CDH Law PLLC, our underage DWI lawyer understands how serious these charges are, and we’ll do everything in our power to fight for your future. Contact our Syracuse criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about our services.