Proposed Law Aims to Decrease Teen Drunk Driving
The New York Legislature frequently proposes new laws to crack down on impaired and intoxicated driving. It is no surprise that at the beginning of what experts call the “100 deadliest days for teen drivers,” two New York State Senators are calling for more legislation to curb teenage drinking and teenage drunk driving. New York Senator Jeffrey Klein and Assemblyman Marcus Crespo jointly sponsor the new bill, which would crack down on businesses selling alcohol to minors. Though the proposed law does not directly affect penalties for intoxicated teenage drivers, the sponsors explicitly state that one goal of the bill is to protect teenage drivers by cutting down on teenage intoxication and therefore reducing the number of underage drunk drivers.
New York drivers under the age of 21 who drive while impaired or intoxicated already face certain charges due to their age. The law allowing such a charge, the Zero Tolerance Law, is also designed to prevent underage drunk driving.
Many experts and anti-intoxication driving organizations report that teenage drinking and driving has increased in recent years. This may be why so many states have Zero Tolerance Laws that impose specific penalties on teenagers for driving while impaired by alcohol. In New York, the Zero Tolerance Law applies to drivers under the age of 21 who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of between 0.02% and 0.07%. This unique charge is designed to prevent underage drunk driving, much like the Senate’s newly proposed bill is aiming to do. New York’s Zero Tolerance Law creates a specific offense for underage drivers with a BAC level of 0.02% to 0.07%. Drivers over the age of 21 are not charged unless they have a BAC of 0.05% to 0.07% (DWAI) or 0.08% or higher (DWI).
Underage drivers charged with driving after having consumed alcohol would not face criminal court, but could still face stiff penalties. Upon a finding of wrongdoing in an administrative hearing, the underage driver could face a driver’s license suspension for at least six months, fines, and an offense on the driver’s record remaining for three years, or until they turn 21, whichever is longer. Of course, underage drivers can also be charged with DWI or DWAI if they meet the standards of those charges.
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DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.