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drunk driver with alcohol behind the wheel

Are There Different BAC Limits for Underage Drivers?

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Any driver who is caught operating a vehicle with alcohol in their system is going to find themselves in legal trouble. New York has a low tolerance for DUIs, but there is something else that the state has an even bigger problem with. We’re talking about underage drivers who consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. These young drivers can face harsh penalties that can derail any life plans they have made. A Queens DUI lawyer from our firm can help underage drivers defend themselves from these serious accusations.

When Can Underage Drivers Be Charged With a Crime?

Someone who is over the age of 21 can get charged for a DWI or a DWAI when they are pulled over and their blood alcohol concentration is above a certain level. Usually, a BAC of .05 to .07 is enough to be charged with a crime. A BAC of .08 or higher often means additional charges.

Underage drivers do not get this much leeway. Having a blood alcohol concentration of just .02 is enough for them to get charged. They can also be charged with additional crimes if their BAC is at .08 or higher. The goal of the state is to discourage young drivers from getting behind the wheel after consuming any alcohol. Even a drink or two could register on a breathalyzer test, allowing the prosecutor to charge them.

What Are Some Penalties Underage Drivers Could Face?

Underage drivers can face some severe penalties even if their BAC was quite low when they got pulled over. Most of the penalties are financial. That can obviously be quite tough on a young person who is probably working part-time at a low-paying job. A young person can end up having to pay:

  • A $125 fine
  • A driver responsibility assessment fee of $100 per year for three years
  • Fees associated with a mandatory New York Drinking Driver program

Additionally, an underage driver’s license can be suspended for months or even longer. You just got some degree of freedom by getting your own license, but the state is ready to take it away over one mistake. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to six months for a first offense. Additional offenses can mean longer suspensions. Some defendants do not get their licenses back until they turn 21.

How Can a Defense Attorney Help?

A defense attorney can help you fight back and avoid the harshest penalties. Your lawyer can communicate on your behalf, which can help prevent you from saying anything incriminating. We can also help you find the right defensive strategy, like questioning the legality of the traffic stop or how the field sobriety test was handled.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

An underage driver needs to take DUI charges seriously. Our lawyers are ready to assist in your defense, so contact Vasiliou Law as soon as possible. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about what we can do to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.

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