The New York Zero Tolerance law applies to those under age 21 who operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more but not more than .07%.
If you are stopped by a police officer for having consumed alcohol while driving in New York, and the officer deems that you are younger than 21 and under the influence of alcohol, you will be temporarily detained for the purpose of taking a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC).
If you refuse to take a breath test, you will be subject to a license revocation of at least one year.
If your BAC is .02% or more, but not more than .07%, you will be charged with the traffic offense of “driving after having consumed alcohol.” You will be given a notice to appear for a hearing before an administrative law judge of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If your BAC is more than .05% but not more than .07%, the police will have the option of charging you with “driving while ability is impaired by alcohol” (DWAI).
If your BAC is more than .07% but less than .08% you will be charged with the offense of “driving while ability is impaired by alcohol” (DWAI).
If your BAC of .08% or more, the charge will be “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). If you are charged with either DWI or DWAI, you will be arrested and requited to appear in criminal court.
While being charged with driving after consuming alcohol is considered a serious violation of the law, it is not designated as a crime and you cannot be sentenced to jail.
However, at the very least you will have your New York license suspended for six months and pay a civil penalty of $125. You must pay an additional $100 fee when your license is returned.
The charge will remain on your record for three years or until you are 21, whichever is longer. You will be required to surrender your license to the New York DMV.
Your New York license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension period
If you have any prior alcohol-related traffic offenses on your record, your license will be revoked for one year or until you reach the age of 21, whichever is longer. You will be required to surrender your license to the New York DMV.
At the end of the revocation period, you may apply for a permit and start the licensing procedure.
If your New York license is suspended under the zero tolerance law, and you do not have any prior alcohol-related convictions on your license, you may be eligible for a conditional license. However, in order to receive one, you must enroll in and complete an approved Driver Program.
Both the program and the conditional license carry additional costs. A conditional license will allow you to drive back and forth to work and school, but it is not the same as a full license.
For further information on New York jail time and fines for DWI, see Buffalo and WNY DWI Sentencing guidelines.
If you need an experienced DWI lawyer to help you, please call us at 716-542-5444 for a legal consultation.