If you’re under 21 years of age, you know that you’re not legally allowed to consume alcohol. Naturally, though, this may not stop you or you may know plenty of people who drink while below the legal drinking age. It’s very common, though it is illegal.
For drivers, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08%. That typically takes more than one drink. For instance, a 20-year-old male who has a single drink may only be at 0.03% or so. It depends on a lot of factors — weight, eating habits, drinking habits, etc.
However, since that person is under 21 years of age, they could still get charged with impaired driving.
The law lowers the limit for young drivers
No tolerance laws in New York lower the limit to 0.02% for underage drivers. If you’re under 21 years of age when you get pulled over, if the breath test can detect alcohol, you’re already over the legal limit. There really is no tolerance at all for impaired driving for you.
This can cause some issues. First and foremost, you may not feel impaired. You may not even feel like you’ve been drinking. You may think driving is safe. Relying on how you feel does not work the way it may for an older driver who would know if they’d “had a few too many.”
Additionally, accidental intoxication could become an issue. Maybe a friend spiked your drink. You didn’t notice with such a low BAC, you never drank intentionally, but you’re still going to fail that breath test.
Now what? What to do after an arrest
If you do get drunk driving charges while under 21 years of age, don’t assume that conviction is a forgone conclusion. Find out more about your defense options.