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Zero Tolerance Laws

Understanding the Zero-Tolerance Laws Creation and Process

Understanding the Zero-Tolerance Laws Creation and Process

The creation of zero tolerance laws came in direct response to the issue of drinking and driving by underage drivers. Over time, statistics have shown an increase in alcohol related accidents and deaths, with a great number of them occurring with minors. In the case of accidents among drivers under the age of 21, a large portion of deaths related to the illegal alcohol consumption. These zero tolerance laws were established to target underage drinking and driving.
The purpose of these laws is to deter people under the age of 21 from consuming alcoholic beverages and driving a vehicle. One law is broken already when they’ve consumed the alcohol, but to get behind the wheel of a vehicle breaks another one, and poses many threats. When any driver consumes alcohol, their driving skills can become impaired making them more susceptible to an accident. 
Imagine how much worse that can be for a young person who is still learning and developing driving skills, and possibly how more prone it can make them for the same. The key to zero tolerance laws was not only to stop underage drivers from drinking as far as law breaking, but for the safety of themselves and everyone around them. The adoption of zero tolerance laws has not been made by every state, but they still penalize minors who drink and drive more severely. The most commonly imposed BAC level by states for zero tolerance laws is 0.02, although they also use 0.00 and 0.01.
The penalties each state imposes for zero tolerance law violators vary. Administrative penalties usually refer to the refusal to taking a BAC test such as a breathalyzer, alcohol urine test, or blood alcohol test, or the results of them and can result in license suspension immediately. Criminal penalties will pertain to once the conviction is made and can vary from penalties such as: community service, large fines, alcohol-awareness programs, license suspension/revocation, etc… 
Also, if the person is additionally under 18 years of age making them a minor, they will experience even stiffer penalties including most likely jail time in addition to license suspension and community service. Due to the seriousness that the states take towards DUI and underage drinking as separate issues, when they are combined, they look down upon the charges greatly. A person found to be in direct offense of the zero tolerance law should not expect to receive any sort of leniency from a judge or prosecutor. It is a matter that is taken with high regard, and extremely seriously.
Since establishing zero tolerance laws, many states have seen a slow but steady change at lowering the number of underage drunk drivers on the roadways. They have also deterred people under the age of 21 from drinking alcohol regardless, since they know they may need to drive somewhere, and don’t want to risk the consequences. The logic is, the stricter the penalty is for breaking a law, the less people you will have breaking that law.

Zero Tolerance Laws Background

Zero Tolerance Laws Background

It is illegal for anyone in the United States who is under the age of 21 to consume or purchase alcohol under set laws. Since this is the case, the people who break this law should be found even less to be operating a vehicle after doing so, breaking two laws. However, the numbers underage drunk driving has grown, and most of them tend to think they are still able to drive afterwards. This has led to a great deal of accidents and deaths in the past years, calling for a solution. In an attempt to solve the issue the states imposed these zero tolerance laws that are very strict, to adhere to underage drunk drivers. 
Laws across every state in the United States imply that anyone over a BAC level of 0.08 is found to be legally intoxicated. This pertains only to people of legal drinking age, and not to these minors. The zero tolerance law has imposed a BAC level that varies through states between these 3: 0.00, 0.01, or 0.02 (the highest). The most commonly used BAC level for zero tolerance laws is the 0.02 seen in more states than the other two. These levels are so low to discourage young people from even attempting to drink at all, and of course going out on the road. 
Anyone who is pulled over and found to be drinking (underage) and driving, directly violating this law will face serious consequences. Every state has different penalties for these violations, just like they do for regular DUI violations. However, due to the strict nature of the zero tolerance law, violation could lead to an automatic license suspension and or revocation. Most young drivers are still in the process of learning how to drive better and acquiring more road skills, drinking alcohol before driving can impair them “worse” than it could an adult. 
This is not to say an adult should drink and drive over a minor, it’s just stressing the importance of avoiding underage drinking combined with operating an automobile. With the strictly low BAC level, a person under zero tolerance law can be in violation of it even after one drink, regardless if they are impaired or not.
Every state has still not imposed the zero tolerance laws, but this doesn’t mean they are more lenient to underage drunk drivers. They still impose stricter penalties for those convicted of DUI that are under 21 years of age. What these laws basically state is anyone under that age that has a BAC level of just 0.00 and of course above, will be convicted of DUI and is in violation of zero tolerance laws.

Zero Tolerance Laws Statistics

Zero Tolerance Laws Statistics

The need for zero tolerance laws came from the rise in underage drinking and accidents related to it. DUI statistics showed that 1/3 of all deaths that involved 15-20 year olds resulted from motor vehicle crash. Now, of these deaths, 35% of them were alcohol related, further illuminating other drunk driving statistics and the need for stringent laws.
This is no surprise since Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) reported drunk driving statistics, that shows nearly three fourths of students in high school drank alcohol prior to their graduation. This is alarming, considering all the safety seminars, speeches, articles, news stories, and talks by their guidance counselors, that these students have heard over the years. Facts and scary DUI statistics warning them of the dangers of consuming alcohol at such a young age, and even more so when attempting to drive afterwards. 
The numbers do not lie, and these drunk driving statistics seem surreal when the numbers are clear and in front of people. This data related to DUI statistics led the push for more states to establish the zero tolerance laws to further enforce the elimination of underage drunk drivers on the road. Since these laws have been accepted in certain states, the numbers have slowly gone down. Some states have still not adopted the zero tolerance laws, yet they still implement harsher penalties and sanctions on DUI offenders under the age of 21. Regardless of the number of lowered instances, the statistics are still high and other measures need to be taken. 
This is not to put down on invalidate the benefit of such laws, but perhaps all states need to adopt zero tolerance laws and meet at a uniform BAC level. Right now most states use 0.02 BAC as their zero tolerance level, while others have 0.01, or even 0.00 (more strict ones). Perhaps if they could all meet at a universal number like the BAC level for people above the age of 21, it would show a more uniform group to combat this issue. 
Some groups argue that a person under the age of 21 should not come in contact with any time of alcoholic beverage and that the level should be set to 0.00 for all states under zero tolerance law. The reason why this hasn’t happened, and why the majority use is 0.02, is in case drivers come in contact with items that could alter their BAC levels that aren’t alcoholic beverages, which certain drunk driving statistics have . One of these items could be mouthwash, or even cough medicine. 
One drink alone would most likely put an underage drinker over the limit of 0.02 so it wouldn’t be hard to distinguish if he or she had a drink or not. Based on the statistics and on a mission to lower the numbers further, perhaps all the states will uniformly meet at 0.02 BAC zero tolerance level at some point. And when the new results come in to show improvement in lesser DUI offenses by people under 21 years of age, other states will adopt these laws as well.

Zero Tolerance Laws Creation and Purpose

Zero Tolerance Laws Creation and Purpose

The creation of zero tolerance laws came in direct response to the issue of drinking and driving by underage drivers. Over time, statistics have shown an increase in alcohol related accidents and deaths, with a great number of them occurring with minors. In the case of accidents among drivers under the age of 21, a large portion of deaths related to the illegal alcohol consumption.  These zero tolerance laws laws were established to target underage drinking and driving.
The purpose of these laws is to deter people under the age of 21 from consuming alcoholic beverages and driving a vehicle. One law is broken already when they’ve consumed the alcohol, but to get behind the wheel of a vehicle breaks another one, and poses many threats. When any driver consumes alcohol, their driving skills can become impaired making them more susceptible to an accident. Imagine how much worse that can be for a young person who is still learning and developing driving skills, and possibly how more prone it can make them for the same. 
The key to zero tolerance laws was not only to stop underage drivers from drinking as far as law breaking, but for the safety of themselves and everyone around them. The adoption of zero tolerance laws has not been made by every state, but they still penalize minors who drink and drive more severely. The most commonly imposed BAC level by states for zero tolerance laws is 0.02, although they also use 0.00 and 0.01.
The penalties each state imposes for zero tolerance law violators vary, and more so between administrative and criminal ones. Administrative penalties usually refer to the refusal to taking a BAC test such as a breathalyzerpenalties Since establishing zero tolerance laws, the states that have, have seen a slow but steady change at lowering the number of underage drunk drivers on the roadways. 
They have also deterred people  under the age of 21 from drinking alcohol regardless, since they know they may need to drive somewhere, and don’t want to risk the consequences. The logic is, the stricter the penalty is for breaking a law, the less people you will have breaking that law.

Zero Tolerance Law Overview

Zero Tolerance Law Overview

Background

Zero tolerance laws were put into effect to try to deter the number of underage drunk drivers.  These laws are adopted by some states and imply certain penalties for people caught driving legally intoxicated, that are under the age of 21. These drivers are not subject to the standard 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content level that exists in all states, but rather a much lower one that varies. Most states use 0.02 as their zero tolerance BAC level, while others fluctuate between 0.00 and 0.01. These zero tolerance laws carry more severe penalties than the normal DUI laws, and can be argued less in court , primarily due to their nature.

Creation and Purpose

The rise in alcohol related deaths and accidents led to a push for stricter DUI laws. But when a large number of these deaths proved to be from underage drinkers, a new focus was made. This focus was placed precisely on underage drinking followed by driving, which called for a new set of laws to be made. These laws were known as zero tolerance laws. They are designed to lower the number of drunk drivers by imposing a low  BAC level, and stiff penalties for those in violation of them. In essence, they are also aimed at deterring people under the age of 21 to consume alcoholic beverages all together. This would be due to the fact that most teenagers drive constantly, fear of consequences would keep them from drinking.


State Mandates
Most of the states that have zero tolerance laws, have parts of these laws that pertain to other areas. These areas can include drugs, and firearms. These zero tolerance laws are used mainly by schools, to show discipline and lack of leniency to the student body for improper behavior. State mandates exist that are set provisions that guide the educational institution in the proper dealing of those found in violation of zero tolerance laws. The universal treatment of anyone violating these laws can help portray the seriousness of the offenses. State mandates have been protested by parents and school officials alike, due to their said lack of focus on individual matters.
Statistics
The addition of zero tolerance laws by certain states was done in direct response to statistics dealing with alcohol related accidents and deaths by underage ( < 21 year old) drivers. Now, after their years of existence and strict enforcement, statistics have gone to help show the positive effect that zero tolerance laws have had on the population. The slight but decreased number of alcohol related accidents due to underage drinking and driving is a clear sign of that. Of course there are still cases where these accidents and deaths occur, but if the numbers are slowly diminishing, perhaps a steady decrease will be imminent. This is if these laws continue to serve their purpose along with other underage drunk driving countermeasures.

Zero Tolerance Laws State Mandates

Zero Tolerance Laws State Mandates

State mandates are statutory provisions that states have placed on institutions and other places for zero tolerance offenders. One of the most common place where state mandates have been linked to zero tolerance laws, is schools and other educational institutions, mostly in the form of DUI laws and DUI penalties.
These mandates regulate how the school must deal with a minor who has been found to be guilty of DUI (or other offenses, such as firearms, or drugs), and in violation of zero tolerance laws. The regulations may include an extended period of suspension from the school, or possibly permanent expulsion for the student. 
These can depend on the gravity and type of situation, as well as a meeting with school educational boards to make a decision on the matter. Sometimes schools will suspend an individual until the legal results from a court come back to make their decision, and make sure it is fair and just. The court results could affect the way they will treat the case, as well as incline towards their own conclusion.
State mandates for zero tolerance laws pertain to any violation or possession of any item that is found to be under their detailed description. This can range to students in a school found to be in possession of drugs, to even candy. As ridiculous as it sounds, some states, due to the reaction of school officials and constant push for addition, have added items as simple as that to the list of items they find to be contraband. 
If the zero tolerance law pertains to contraband that the state has mandated, and the school has clearly specified to the student body that candy is one of them, then a student will be subject to disciplinary action under that law. The state mandates imposed upon educational institutions have been challenged greatly by protesting schools and parents, because they are universal and don’t fit every situation. The ones used to treat individuals in violation of zero tolerance laws due to DUI penalties, drugs, and weapons are seldom challenged. 
This is because there are the ones that make the most sense of the situation, specifically in regards to the need for stricter DUI laws and subsequent DUI penalties. The students are bringing illegal items into the school posing danger to themselves and others. In the DUI case, they are representing the school they attend, and setting a bad example by drinking underage and then on top of that, driving drunk. 
State mandates leave room for much argument and discussion, and sometimes districts themselves are not in accordance with the provisions they hand down. Yet, many states have banded together in order to make DUI laws and DUI penalties a more uniforms provision for those individuals under the age of which alcohol consumption is legal.