On December 2nd of this year, the Hudson Valley News Network reported on an underage drinking enforcement operation conducted by the New York State Police in Dutchess County. In this operation, an 18-year-old volunteer was sent to fifteen stores to purchase alcoholic beverages under the observation of plainclothes investigators and uniformed troopers. Two subjects were arrested and charged with the misdemeanor of Unlawful Dealing with a Minor. This is just one of the routine underage drinking enforcement operations that the New York State Police, together with the New York State Liquor Authority, conduct throughout the state in an attempt to cut down on underage alcohol abuse and DWI.
Zero Tolerance Law
People under age 21 who drive with a BAC of .02 to .07 are
subject to the Zero Tolerance law. If you are under 21 and have been pulled
over, the officer may find reason to believe that you have consumed alcohol. If
this is the case, they will temporarily detain you in order to administer a
Breathalyzer test, usually at the police station. If you refuse this test, your
license may be revoked for at least a year.
- You were the person operating the vehicle
- They made a valid request for you to submit to a chemical test (the Breathalyzer)
- You were younger than 21 at the time
- The chemical test was administered correctly
- The chemical test showed that you had consumed alcohol and your BAC was at least .02
- The police made a lawful stop of your vehicle
Driving after consuming alcohol is a serious violation of
the law, but it is not officially designated as a crime. Although you won’t go
to jail for breaking this law, there are other consequences. Your license will
be suspended for at least six months and there will most likely be a civil
penalty of at least $125. In addition, you will have to pay a $100 fee to have
your license reinstated. These charges will remain on your record for three
years or until you turn 21, whichever is longer. If you have other
alcohol-related traffic offenses on your record, your license will be revoked
for one year or until you turn 21, whichever is longer.
If your BAC is found to be from .05 to .08, you may be charged with Driving While Ability is Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI). Any BAC above .08 is classified as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Both DWAI and DWI are tried in criminal court.
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