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DUI: Zero Tolerance Laws

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What Are Zero Tolerance Laws?

Zero Tolerance laws ensure that any underage driver found with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level over 0.00 will be found guilty of impaired driving and face serious penalties.

What DUI Penalties For Underage Drivers?

Not every state has adopted Zero Tolerance laws, but every state does impose stricter penalties on underage drivers who have consumed alcohol. As in all alcohol-related vehicle stops, a suspected drunk driver will suffer administrative penalties - most commonly a suspended license - separate from any criminal penalties imposed if the driver is convicted of drunk driving (DUI / DWI).

The actual penalties imposed will vary from state to state: 

  • California
    • Administrative Penalties
      Refusing e to take a chemical test after a DUI arrest, or if a minor with a BAC higher than 0.00%, will have a license suspended for 1 year
    • Criminal Penalties
      A DUI conviction may result in:
      • Jail time
      • Paying a fine
      • Revoked for one year or until 18, whichever is longer
      • Impounded vehicle for up to six months, with the defendant being liable for storage fees
  • Florida
    • Administrative Penalties
      • Refusing to take a chemical test, even at the initial stop, will result in a suspended license for 1 year
      • A BAC level is 0.02% or higher will result in a suspended license for at least 6 months
      • A BAC 0.05% or higher, will result in a license suspension until you complete a substance abuse evaluation and course
    • Criminal Penalties
      If convicted of DUI, penalties include:
      • Jail time
      • Paying a fine
      • License revoked for a minimum of 6 months
      • Attendance a DUI school and potential treatment
  • Illinois
    • Administrative Penalties
      • Refusing to take a chemical test, will result in a revoked license for at least 6 months
      • If a BAC level is higher than 0.00%, a license will be revoked for at least 3 months
    • Criminal Penalties
      If convicted of DUI:
      • Jail time and paying a fine
      • Revoked for a minimum of 2 years
  • New York
    • Administrative Penalties
      • Refusing to take a chemical test will revoke a license for at least 1 year
      • If a BAC level is 0.02% or higher, the driver's license will be suspended for 6 months, as well as
        • Paying a civil penalty
        • Paying a license re-application fee
    • Criminal Penalties
      If you are convicted of DWI:
      • Jail time and fines
      • License revoked for a minimum of 1 year
  • Texas
    • Administrative Penalties
      • Refusing to take a chemical test will result in a license suspension for at least 6 months
      • If the BAC level is higher than 0.00%, driver's license will be suspended for at least 2 months
    • Criminal Penalties
      • Under 21: 
        • Pay a fine and perform community service
        • Attend alcohol-awareness classes
        • License will be suspended for 2 months
      • Under 18: 
        • Spend 72 hours to 180 days in jail and pay a fine
        • Perform community service and attend alcohol-awareness classes
        • License will be suspended for at least 3 months

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested for Drunk Driving?

If you are arrested for DUI or DWI, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and what to expect from the legal system.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-03-2014 07:59 PM PDT

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