The tragic consequences of drinking and driving weigh heavily on the minds of many in Miami, Florida this week, and throughout the country. When DWI laws are violated, the worst case scenario is the death of an innocent bystander or driver. That scenario becomes even more difficult to digest when the victim is a grandmother of five, and the drunk driver a young adult, not even legally permitted to consume alcohol. Such was the case involving then 19-year-old Ivanna Villanueva and 80-year-old Eyder Ayala.

CBS’ local Miami website reports that on Wednesday, June 19, Ms. Villanueva began her jail sentence for the DWI crash that resulted in Ms. Ayala’s death. The incident occurred several years ago, while Ms. Ayala was returning from her job at a McDonald’s restaurant. Ms. Villanueva had used fake identification to enter a club on Miami Beach, from where she was returning. Ms. Villanueva was speeding and was drunk, and slammed into the back of Ms. Ayala’s car. The impact was so strong that the trunk of Ms. Ayala’s car actually pushed into the front seat. Ms. Ayala was dead at the scene of the accident. Toxicology reports would later reveal that Ms. Villanueva’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08%, at 0.231%. notes that, ultimately, Ms. Villanueva entered into a plea deal in which the judge ruled that in light of the DWI charges against her, she must serve three years in a youthful offender facility, with 15 years of probation when the sentence is complete. As part of the probation, she must make an annual contribution to the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and must complete community service hours, including speaking in schools about drinking and driving. Many people likely hope that Ms. Villanueva’s mistake, and Ms. Ayala’s death, will be an example of the horrors of drunk driving, and will deter young people from getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking.

It is important to note that in New York state, like many other states, young adults under the age of 21 do not get a free pass for drinking and driving. Under New York’s “Zero Tolerance” law, a person under the age of 21-years-old violates DWI laws by drinking and driving with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. The penalties for a first offense under the Zero Tolerance law include a license suspension for six months, a $125 civil penalty, $100 fee for license suspension termination and the possibility of being ordered to install an ignition interlock device and enroll in the New York Drinking Driver Program. A second offense enhances these penalties. There are also penalties if a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test.

At any age, drinking and driving is no joke, and can cause serious damage. A DWI conviction can severely impact a person’s personal life, financial situation, and career. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced DWI attorney. A DWI attorney can help defend you, and can negotiate the charges on your behalf. Call the experienced DWI attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today at 1-866-792-7800 for a confidential consultation.

The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.