New York Underage DWI Lawyer

As is the case in virtually every legal jurisdiction, New York considers drunk driving to be an extremely serious infraction worthy of strong penalties due to the hazard such conduct poses to society.

This is particularly true when it comes to underage motorists who are found to have alcohol in their systems while behind the wheel.

If you are a younger driver facing a DWI charge, a New York underage DWI lawyer can help mitigate potential consequences. Contact a qualified DWI attorney that can safeguard your prospects for a bright future.

Key Considerations Regarding Underage DWI in New York

The legislature in New York has determined that young motorists, namely those under age 21, should be subject to a series of special laws in the realm of drinking and driving.

Those who have not yet turned 21 are prohibited from driving vehicles if they have had even a small amount to drink. Furthermore, penalties are more stringent for young drivers than for older ones found to be operating while under the influence of alcohol.

Per Se DWI for Underage Motorists

Pursuant to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192a, an underage driver can be charged with “per se” DWI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of between .02% and .08%. This is true even if the driver is not determined to have been materially impaired as a result of drinking.

Though this provision is often referred to as zero tolerance, the lower end of the threshold is .02% BAC rather than zero, an acknowledgment of the fact that many cough medications and mouthwash preparations contain some alcohol and because there are families whose religious practices permit minors to consume small amounts as well.

Conventional DWI and DWAI Charges

It is also possible for an underage motorist to be charged with a traditional DWI offense if their blood alcohol level is at least .08% or they are shown to be substantially impaired while behind the wheel.

A charge of DWAI (driving while impaired) may be lodged if there is impairment to any extent that is attributable to the consumption of alcohol, as provided by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192.

Process and Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving Cases

A traditional DWI charge is classified as a misdemeanor, but in cases of underage drivers, a “per se” charge will not be considered criminal in nature. Those alleged to have committed this offense will be scheduled for an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If it is demonstrated that the accused did violate the law, they will be subject to no less than a six-month license suspension and additional monetary fines and fees. A qualified New York underage DWI lawyer can attempt to mitigate the charges that an individual faces.

Conditional Licenses

It is often possible for such individuals to receive conditional licenses for the purpose of driving to school or work, provided they complete impaired driver education programming. Those with prior alcohol-involved traffic offenses will have their license revoked for a full year or until the age of 21, whichever period is longer.

The situation becomes far more serious if an underage driver is charged with a conventional DWI or DWAI. These charges, particularly if they represent a second or subsequent offense, have the potential to yield substantial terms of incarceration, long-term license revocations, costly fines and mandatory ignition interlock installation.

In all cases, conviction on such a charge will produce a criminal record and ancillary consequences that are difficult to shake.

Lasting Implications of Underage DWI/DWAI

A finding of guilt on any type of impaired driving charge is a profoundly detrimental occurrence for any driver. However, the ramifications for younger motorists can be especially dire.

Drivers in this age group are just getting started in life, and they may face regrettable obstacles in terms of college admissions, employment prospects and other critical aspects of their future fortunes as a result of an impaired driving record. For these reasons, the assistance of an experienced New York underage DWI attorney is truly a necessity under such circumstances.

Talking to a New York Underage DWI Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage drinking and driving offense, there is no reason to delay in mounting an aggressive legal defense. A New York underage DWI lawyer will work to prevent such allegations from standing in the way of a bright, productive and fulfilling future.