Our state treats driving while intoxicated with extreme seriousness. Anyone who is arrested and charged with DWI should be cognizant of the penalties they will face, if convicted. Even more stringent are the rules for people who fall into the categories that apply to “zero tolerance.”

Knowing who will be considered part of zero tolerance and the penalties, if they are convicted, is imperative when planning a defense. The following drivers will have zero tolerance laws apply to them: commercial motor vehicle operators; school bus drivers, school activity bus drivers and child care drivers; and people under the age of 21.

Commercial drivers are not allowed to drink and drive when operating their commercial vehicle. If they do, and there is an arrest and conviction, the first offense will result in 10 days in which they are not allowed to operate that commercial vehicle. If there is a second or subsequent offense, the driver’s license will be subject to revocation, and the person will not be allowed to drive any vehicle.

For people under 21, it is illegal to consume any alcohol and drive or to use any illegal drugs and drive. If there is a traffic stop and the driver is under 21 with alcohol or illegal drugs in his or her system, there will be an immediate 30-day revocation of driving privileges before the trial.

With a refusal to take a test to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs, even the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath will result in a conviction. A conviction will lead to a driver’s license revocation for one year. If the judge decides to grant them, there can be limited driving privileges for drivers 18 or older, if they have not had a previous conviction.

Commercial drivers and those who drive school buses or deal with driving children can have their livelihood negatively affected by a conviction of DWI when violating zero tolerance. For those under 21, the rules make the penalties immediate and severe for several allegations in violating this law. To avoid the long-term penalties, having legal help is key. A lawyer who is experienced with DWI cases can be of assistance.