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What Is New York’s Zero Tolerance Law?


If you have heard of New York’s Zero Tolerance Law you may have wondered what and who it refers to. The law applies to drivers under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content level of between .02 percent and .07 percent. If an accused individual is pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence and being under the age of 21, they will be required to submit to a breathalyzer test and may be detained for that purpose.

If the accused individual refuses a breathalyzer test, they are subject to having their driver’s license suspended for up to one year. Different procedures apply based on the accused individual’s blood alcohol content level. If the accused individual’s blood alcohol content level is between .02 percent and .07 percent, they will be subject to an administrative hearing. If the accused individual’s blood alcohol content level measures at .05 percent to .08 percent or greater than .08 percent, they will be subject to the criminal court process.

When criminal charges are involved, potential criminal penalties apply which can be harsh. Underage drinking and driving is a serious charge in the state of New York which is why individuals who have been accused of underage drunk driving should be familiar with their criminal defense options and should also be familiar with the administrative procedures involved in the administrative portion of the potential consequences they are facing.

Criminal defense rights and due process rights are in place to ensure that accused individuals are properly treated and that their rights are protected. It is important for accused individuals to be familiar with these rights so that they can be asserted when needed.

Source: New York State Governor’s Safety Committee, “Alcohol, Drugs & Impaired Driving,” Accessed Sept. 28, 2017