Zero Tolerance Law in Nassau County, New York

Zero Tolerance Law
(DUI Under 21)

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Zero Tolerance Law (DUI Under 21)

As a prosecutor, Richard was a member of a specialized unit which focused exclusively on Nassau County Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs cases. As part of this appointment, Richard attended police trainings on DWI detection, DWI policing policies, police testimony, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS), and breathalyzer technology. With this background, Richard is uniquely qualified as a Nassau County DWI Lawyer to represent you or your loved one who is accused of a crime. Our firm knows how to help you protect your license, protect your record, and protect your freedom.

Zero Tolerance Law Lawyers in New York

Drinking and driving is dangerous for everyone on the road, and even more so if you are drinking and driving while underage. If you’re under the age of 21 in the United States, then it is against the law to consume alcoholic beverages and if you’re caught driving, you can face “driving while consuming alcohol” charges under New York’s Zero Tolerance Law.

In New York, Zero Tolerance Law lowers the threshold of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for underage drinkers to be charged. This means that if you’re under 21 and you consume an amount of alcohol that would not be considered above the legal limit for an adult, you may be charged with a violation and punished with fines and the suspension of your license.

If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage “driving while consuming alcohol” DWI or DWAI in Nassau County under NY’s Zero Tolerance Law, our attorney can fight to have your charges dropped or reduced. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Hochhauser today for a free consultation with an experienced Zero Tolerance Law attorney.

Understanding NY Zero Tolerance law

New York’s Zero Tolerance Law was passed in 1995 to discourage minors from drinking any amount of alcohol and driving. The law sets guidelines and penalties by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), so even if the violation cannot be charged as a crime under NY State DWI statutes, you can be fined and stripped of your driving privileges by the DMV if convicted under Zero Tolerance Law in New York.

While the national threshold for standard DWI is blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .08% or above, the Zero Tolerance Law states that anyone under the age of 21 caught driving with BAC levels between .02% and .07% must have a hearing at the New York DMV. If it is proven in this hearing that the defendant was in fact under the age of 21, driving a motor vehicle, and the chemical tests that indicated their BAC levels was reported correctly, then the defendant can be convicted of “driving after having consumed alcohol” offense and face consequences.

It’s important to understand that every person who is accused of underage drinking and driving is entitled to a hearing with the DMV, where you will have the right to defend yourself. However, if you do not show up for the hearing, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. Having a Nassau County DWAI attorney who is well-versed in NY Zero Tolerance Law and can advocate on your behalf at the DMV hearing is crucial.

Underage drinking and driving penalties in New York

Instead of being prosecuted in a criminal court and judged by a judge or jury, an underage driver who is charged with violating New York’s underage per se statute and driving with BAC levels between .02%-.07% is judged by the DMV commissioner at a DMV hearing. If convicted, you can face fines and a license suspension. However, depending on the amount of alcohol you consumed, you may be charged with a DWAI, DWI or Aggravated DWI in a criminal court.

Listed below are some of the different types of underage drinking and driving charges in New York and the penalties that come with a conviction:

  • BAC of .02%-.07%: If caught driving impaired with BAC levels in this range, you may be charged with a “driving after having consumed alcohol” offense under NY’s Zero Tolerance Law. A first offense carries a six-month suspension of your driver’s license and a civil fine of $125. For repeat convictions, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year or until you turn 21 years old.
  • BAC between .05% and .08%: If you are driving impaired with BAC levels in this range, the police may charge you with a Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) offense. This offense is considered a traffic violation and is tried in a criminal court, not by the DMV. A first-time DWAI conviction can be punished with a one-year revocation of your license, fines up to $500 and up to 15 days in prison.
  • BAC levels of .08% or above: If you are underage and caught with BAC levels above .08%, you can be charged with a Driving While Intoxicated offense. A DWI will also be tried in criminal court and if convicted you can have your license revoked for one year, a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in prison.
  • BAC levels of .18% or higher: This is a misdemeanor crime tried in a criminal court. If convicted of an Aggravated DWI you can face up to one year in prison, fines between $1000-$2500, the required installation of an ignition interlock device, and the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.

With underage drivers, a DWAI or DWI conviction can result in a one-year license suspension that cannot be shortened by completing the Impaired Drivers Program.

Being underage and charged with any kind of DWI or DWAI can also bring up other investigations into how you bought the alcohol or whether you used a fake ID.

Because the consequences for DWI, DWAI and Aggravated DWI charges in New York can be so severe, it’s highly recommended that you contact an experienced underaged drunk driving defense attorney in Nassau County if you or your child is being charged. Drunk driving charges are something that the state of New York takes very seriously, so it’s vital that you have someone to investigate your case and fight for your rights in court.



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At the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser, we have years of experience representing people accused of DWI and Aggravated DWI crimes in Nassau County. We understand the best strategies for building a case, and we’re not afraid to defend your rights in court. For a free consultation with our knowledgeable Nassau County DWI defense attorney, give us a call today at (516) 939-1529 or contact us online.

Can I minimize the penalties for an underage impaired driving charge in New York?

If you or a loved one is being charged with a DWI or “drinking after having consumed alcohol” offense under Zero Tolerance Law in NY, the benefits of having a knowledgeable DWI defense attorney on your side are huge. In most underage DWI and DWAI cases in New York, the courts have broad discretion regarding the penalties and timeframes they impose them for. That means that having a DWI defense attorney who knows how to advocate on your behalf and negotiate to have your charges and penalties reduced can go a long way.

A skilled underage DWAI defense attorney in NY also knows how to investigate the details of your case and find any holes in the prosecutor’s argument or foul play from the police. For example, in some cases, police officers pull people over without any reasonable cause. This is illegal, and if your attorney can expose that there was a breach of your rights when the arrest occurred, the evidence against you may be dismissed and your charges can be dropped.

Furthermore, being tried for an underage DWI offense under Zero Tolerance Law can be a stressful experience, and many people don’t know how to handle it or where to start. A Nassau County defense attorney in NY will take care of all the details associated with the trial, such as paperwork and deadlines, and represent you in court to defend your rights. This part of a lawyer’s work is often overlooked, but the reality is, having someone to handle the details can take a huge load off your shoulders during a difficult time.

Nassau County Underage DUI Defense Lawyer

Deciding which DWI defense attorney to choose if you or your child has been accused of an underage DUI offense in New York can be difficult. However, choosing the right underage DUI defense lawyer to represent you is crucial to winning your case. At the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser, we focus our practice on DWI’s and underage DUI offenses. Here are some of the things that set our NY DUI defense attorneys apart from the crowd:

  • Richard Hochhauser is a former Nassau County prosecutor with experience in all aspects of DWI, DUI and criminal law. His experience as a prosecutor helps immensely as a DUI defense attorney, as he understands how prosecutors strategize and what to expect at trial.
  • Mr. Hochhauser has tried many cases to verdict and is a seasoned trial lawyer. That means he knows how to represent you and fight for your rights in court.
  • As a prosecutor, Mr. Hochhauser belonged to a specialized unit dedicated to Nassau County DWI cases. He has trained and studied DWI policing policies extensively and knows what to look for in your DWI case.

If you’re not sure what to do after the underage drinking and driving charge in New York, give the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser a call to discuss the specifics of your case and find out how we can help you and your family.


Contact the underage DWI attorneys in Nassau County

At the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser, we’ve helped clients in NY in all sorts of DWI cases retain their freedom, hard-earned money and driving privileges. We understand how scary an underage drinking and driving charge can be for you or your child, and Mr. Hochhauser works compassionately and aggressively on your behalf to defend your rights. For a free consultation and case review, give us a call today at (516) 939-1529 or contact us online.