Underage Drinking and Driving in New York


Underage Drinking and Driving

By DWI Lawyer Ramy Lewis, Esq. of the Law Office of Lance Fletcher

New York has a "Zero Tolerance" policy for underage drinkers who drive so that underage drivers will lose their driver's licenses regardless of whether they are actually impaired or intoxicated to any extent.

Zero Tolerance laws are found under Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 1192-a and 1194-a.

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192-a states:

"No person under the age of 21 shall operate a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol as defined in this section. For purposes of this section, a person under the age of 21 is deemed to have consumed alcohol only if such person has .02 of 1% or more but not more than .07 of 1% by weight of alcohol in the person blood as shown by chemical analysis of such person's blood, breath, urine, or saliva, made pursuant to the provisions of VTL § 1194."

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1194-a sets the procedures applicable to a violation of VTL 1192-a (above) along with the procedures applicable to a Zero Tolerance law chemical test refusal.

The intent behind these Zero Tolerance laws is to deter underage drinking without enormously punishing the underage driver because a person who is found in violation may not be at all impaired by the consumption of alcohol. Indeed, being found in violation of these laws is civil and not criminal. These civil penalties, however, are often coupled with criminal charges.

If you are facing a Zero Tolerance law violation or a DWI in New York, contact our firm today to schedule a case evualuation.