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The Basics of Underage DWI Charges in New York


Throughout New York state, there is a zero tolerance policy concerning underage drinking and driving. Young people who are under 21 years old and are caught driving after consuming any amount of alcohol are likely to be charged with underage DWI/DUI under the zero tolerance law. Whether or not they are charged may depend on the prosecutor’s reading of the zero tolerance law.

The potential penalties and consequences of an underage DWI charge can include probation, which may threaten the accused individual’s ability to leave the state, jail time, fines, community service and increased insurance rates. In addition, an underage DWI charge can have a significant negative impact on an accused individual’s personal and professional life and may impact college eligibility, eligibility for scholarships and the accused individual’s employment opportunities.

The penalties for underage drinking and driving in New York can include the loss of a driver’s license for at least a year. In addition, if the accused individual refuses a breath test, their license will be revoked for one year. Likewise, if they are accused of aggravated DWI, the accused individual also faces having their license automatically revoked for one year. Additional penalties can apply for a second underage DWI charge within 5 years.

Individuals accused of underage DWI face both potential criminal penalties, as well as administrative penalties which can include a department of motor vehicles hearing and the loss of their driver’s license. As is true of any criminal charges, including drunk driving charges and underage drunk driving charges, it is important to have a strong criminal defense strategy to help offset the potential consequences of an underage DWI charge.