Anyone who is under 21 years old isn't allowed to purchase or consume alcohol in New York. With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that people who aren't allowed to purchase or consume alcohol aren't allowed to driver under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the Zero Tolerance laws provide very specific and harsh consequences for people under 21 years old who are caught drinking and driving.
Unlike the laws that pertain to adults who are 21 years old or older that allow a driver to have a blood alcohol concentration of under .08 percent before facing drunk driving charges, the laws pertaining to those who haven't yet reached the legal drinking age set that limit much lower. In fact, no state in the country allows anyone who is under 21 years old to have a BAC of .02 percent, and some have set that limit at .00 percent. The higher limit of .02 percent is set because of the National Highway Systems Designation Act of 1995, which made the move to this low percentage necessary if states wanted to receive Federal-Aid Highway Funds.
The lower BAC limit for underage drinking and driving arrests means that even a small amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car could end in criminal charges. In the case of underage drinking and driving, the offense is considered a per se offense. That means that as long as the underage driver's BAC is higher than the legal limit, there isn't any requirement for the officer to prove intoxication.
Facing an underage DUI is serious because this offense can affect every aspect of your life. It will show up on background checks and can increase car insurance premiums, as well as have other effects. Learning your options and choosing a defense strategy are vital if you are facing an underage DUI.
Source: FindLaw, "Underage DUI: Zero Tolerance Laws," accessed Aug. 02, 2015