Adults who are at least 21 years of age face serious criminal penalties – such as license suspension, fines, and even jail time – if they are convicted of DWI in New York. But what about underage drivers? Do the same laws apply?
New York has an underage per se law regarding drunk driving. While the legal limit for an adult who is 21 or older is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent, the legal limit for underage drivers is a BAC of at least .02 percent.
However, an underage per se DWI is not considered a crime – unlike a regular DWI, which is a misdemeanor offense. A violation of New York’s underage DWI law will be handled in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), rather than a criminal court.
If the DMV commissioner finds an underage driver guilty of violating the state’s underage per se law, the person will be subject to driver’s license suspension for six months and a civil fine of up to $125. If an underage driver participates in an “Impaired Driver Program,” he/she is eligible for a conditional license.
However, if an underage driver’s BAC was at least .08 percent at the time of the arrest, he/she will be charged with a DWI like an adult. A DWI conviction carries a maximum jail sentence of one year, a fine not exceeding $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for up to one year – rather than six months for adult drivers.
If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage DWI or a regular DWI in Albany, let O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC help you get the best possible results in your case. With more than 25 years of combined experience, our legal team has represented clients in both criminal and DMV hearings related to drunk driving and understands what it takes to either reduce the charges/penalties you face or get your dismissed altogether.
Contact us today at (518) 240-9992 and request a free initial consultation.