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What are penalties in New York for underage drinking and driving?

For people who are pulled over and accused of drunk driving, a lot of terms might come up as they go through the criminal justice system. Many of these terms have to do with the exact charge the person is facing. The actual charge has a big impact on the consequences you face in New York. Drivers under 21 years old who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs face different penalties from drivers who are 21 or older.

What are the drunk driving charges in New York?

The drunk driving charge in New York is driving while ability impaired. There are four different charges you can face under the DWAI umbrella. A DWAI/Alcohol occurs when the impairment cause is alcohol. DWAI/Drugs occurs when the impairment comes from drugs. DWAI/Combination occurs when both drugs and alcohol are factors. Aggravated DWI occurs when you have a blood-alcohol concentration of .18 percent or higher.

What are the limits for a DWI?

Your age and the vehicle you are driving impact the BAC limits in New York. A driver who is younger than 21 years old has a limit of .02 percent. A person who is 21 or older driving a personal vehicle has a limit of .08 percent. A person in a commercial vehicle has a limit of .04 percent.

What are the penalties for underage drunk drivers?

New York has a Zero Tolerance Law, which has harsh penalties for underage drivers. At a minimum, the person would face a six-month license suspension, a $100 reinstatement fee and a $125 civil penalty for a first offense. The driver can also be ordered to participate in a drunk driving program and an ignition interlock device. On a second offense, the license suspension increases to a year, but the other consequences remain the same.

Underage drivers who are convicted of drunk driving face several consequences. These can be life-altering. Presenting a solid defense is one way that you might be able to protect yourself.

Source: DMV.org, "DUI & DWI in New York" Sep. 18, 2014

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