College- and high school-aged students sometimes want to grow up too quickly, enjoying some of the privileges that come with adulthood. One of those privileges is drinking alcohol. But after having had a few drinks at a party and getting behind the wheel of your dad’s car, are you prepared to face the consequences of a drunk driving charge?
An arrest can sneak up on you. The flashing cherry red lights from a law enforcement vehicle may not be quite enough to sober you up. But the aftermath of a drunk driving arrest likely will. You must face your parents, a judge and the reality that your life has changed, and not for the better.
Zero tolerance for those under 21
What you thought was a routine drive turned into conundrum that steers you through the winding roads of the legal system and a not-so-swift court date. Here are some the basic explanations regarding drunk driving in the Empire State:
- Under New York as well as federal laws, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% are legally drunk.
- As in many states, New York has a zero tolerance for drinking and driving among people under the age of 21. Underage individuals who imbibe and get behind the wheel with a BAC level between .02 and .07 percent will be charged with DWI. As a result, you must attend a DMV-related hearing. If found guilty, a six-month driver’s license suspension awaits you, and you face a series of fines.
- Enhanced penalties are in place for individuals with a .18 BAC or higher. This is known as “aggravated DWI” and carries a mandatory fine of between $1,000 and $2,500, up to a year in jail and driver’s license revocation for a year.
Besides jail time and fines, you also must have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Community service, too, is a possibility. Please avoid getting in such a predicament and rely on a designated driver if you drink.