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Underage DUI (Zero Tolerance Law)

Underage DUI (Zero Tolerance Law)

Strict policies are in place to force young people to abstain from drinking while driving. The zero tolerance law was an important step in deterring young people from consuming alcohol in the first place.

If you are 21 years old or younger, 0.02% is the legal limit for being charged with driving under the influence. One drink can place your driving privilege in jeopardy if you are under 21 years old. An experienced lawyer who knows how to defend clients against the zero tolerance law is your first step in defending your rights in a court of law.

How The Court Process Works

Your first appearance in court is called an arraignment hearing. The charges filed against you are read openly in court and you are asked how do you plead? Your lawyer will receive all evidence from the prosecution concerning the case. This information gives your attorney what he needs to defend you of the charges filed in court against you.

The preliminary hearing is where the judge can decide whether the prosecution has the correct evidence to proceed with the case against you. Your attorney can offer you professional advice on what options you have in moving forward with the case.

Your attorney might be able to plea-bargain your case. It could be possible to have the driving under the influence charge reduced to a lesser charge of reckless driving. This would depend on the evidence that the prosecution has against you. If you have never been in trouble before, the prosecutor just might consider a reduction in the DUI charge.

Your attorney could keep some evidence against you out of court through pretrial motions. He has past trial experiences to know what he can negotiate with the prosecution. It could be video camera evidence or empty containers found in the motor vehicle as examples.

Many cases involving driving under the influence never reach the actual trail. Most defendants will offer a plea to reduce the chances of the prosecution using past criminal behavior against them. Your lawyer will guide you through each step of the process involved in your case. If you decide to plead not guilty, a court day will be scheduled for you to appear at a future date.

Penalties Under Zero Tolerance Law

A first offense of driving under the influence under New York’s zero tolerance law can cause you to lose your license for up to 6 months. You will have to pay a fine and could be sentenced to alcohol education classes.

A second offense could cause you to lose your license for a year. You could possibly be suspended from driving until your 21st birthday. The court could force you to pay for the installation of an interlock device and monthly maintenance fees if they allow you to continue to drive. Fines are increased for a second offense and court ordered alcohol classes would be mandatory.

Hiring an attorney to represent you is important for your future if you are accused of driving under the influence. Your lawyer will assist you in all phases of the process concerning the charges brought against you.