Zero Tolerance Law Law & Legal Definition


Zero tolerance laws impose automatic punishment for infractions of a stated rule, with the intention of eliminating undesirable conduct. Such laws impose a pre-determined punishment regardless of individual culpability, extenuating circumstances, or past history. This pre-determined punishment need not be severe, but it is always meted out. For example, in U.S. the term is used in the context of driving under the influence of alcohol. Zero Tolerance laws makes it illegal for any driver younger than 21 to operate a vehicle with any type of blood alcohol count (BAC). Even after one drink, minors will be punished for violating this law regardless of whether they are physically impaired during driving or not. There are slight variations on this, depending on state. California, for instance, makes it illegal for any underage driver to have a BAC of .01 percent or higher. In Virginia, the BAC limit is .02 percent.

The following is an example of a State Statute ( New York) on Zero Tolerance law:

The Zero Tolerance Law is spelled out in NY CLS Veh & Tr § 1192 (a) provides that it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle after having consumed any alcohol (as shown by a BAC of .02% or more). While drivers under 21 remain fully subject to all of the DWI and DWAI provisions and penalties set forth in §1192, this violation is not a criminal offense and subsequent findings and penalties for violation are administrative in nature. These penalties include a civil fine and a license suspension or revocation action.