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Zero Tolerance repeat offenses lead to more severe punishments

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | College Student Criminal Defense, DWI

Like other U.S. states that don’t tolerate underage drinking, New York has a Zero Tolerance Law. Drivers under 21 years of age caught with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level between .02 and .07 violate the Zero Tolerance Law, and they will face a litany of punishments once convicted.

For a first-offense violation of the Zero Tolerance Law, an underage driver faces a $125 civil penalty. They’ll also get their license suspended for six months. Additionally, the driver will have to pay a $100 fee to terminate the suspension after the six months.

Getting charged for violating the Zero Tolerance Law is harsh enough for minors, but being flagged for a second violation is even more severe. In the worst cases, a court can revoke a young driver’s license until they come of age.

Penalties for repeat Zero Tolerance Law offenders

If a driver under 21 gets their second offense for violating New York’s Zero Tolerance Law, they will face another $125 civil penalty fee. Their driver’s license will also be revoked for one year or up until they reach 21 years of age, depending on the circumstances of their charge. They’ll have to pay a $100 reapplication fee to restore their license once the revocation period ends.

This penalty is in addition to other surcharges the court may order the underage driver to pay.

Penalties for second chemical test refusal under Zero Tolerance Law

Underage drivers can also face additional punishments for refusing a second chemical test to assess whether alcohol or drugs impaired their driving ability. A young driver refusing a chemical test for the first time can lead to a $300 civil penalty, a license revocation for one year and a $100 license reapplication fee. But if the young driver refuses to undergo testing for a second time, the civil penalty doubles to more than $700.

A conviction for violating the Zero Tolerance Law can reflect badly on a young person. It can hurt their future job opportunities when an employer makes a background check and their ability to take out loans or purchase insurance. The court hearing process itself can also be intimidating for young people. If you’re a parent or guardian of an underage driver facing their first or subsequent Zero Tolerance offense, consider consulting with an attorney who can protect the young adult in court.