New York State's zero-tolerance policy and DUI
Under New York State Laws, consumption of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21 is illegal. New York has long adopted a position that the consumption of alcohol impairs an individual's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. As such, New York considers that any individual under the age of 21 should never be drunk behind the wheel because they are barred from consumption of alcohol.
In many ways this so-called "Zero Tolerance Law" toward minors caught drinking and driving grants increased powers to law enforcement. For example, a police officer who suspects that an underage driver may have consumed alcohol can temporarily detain that person to request or administer blood alcohol concentration tests. Any minor determined to have a BAC between .02 through .07 percent will then be notified to appear at a DMV hearing. A judge will then decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support a drunk driving charge. Once that happens, the underage motorist can receive a six-month license suspension. That individual will also incur a $125 civil penalty and be required to pay a suspension termination fee of $100.
Any minor caught later for the same offense under similar circumstances will have their license revoked for a period of at least one year or until they have attained the age of 21, whichever is the lengthier of the two situations. Repeat minor offenders will also incur a $125 fine and must pay a fee of $100 to reapply for their licenses. It is also important to know that if an individual's BAC exceeds .05 percent then one will be charged with driving while ability impaired or driving while intoxicated and may face criminal prosecution.
If you are a New York minor who is facing a Zero Tolerance Law hearing you should consult first with your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of your case it may be possible to challenge the evidence being presented against you.