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Can drivers under 21 consume a little alcohol and drive?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2016 | Underage Drinking and Driving |

The temptation to consume alcohol before a person turns 21 years old is considerable. Peer pressure and the desire to appear cool are sometimes the factors that encourage people who aren’t yet old enough to drink alcohol legally to consume the forbidden beverages. The issue that comes into the picture for some minors who are drinking alcohol occurs when they realize that they must get back home after the drinking party. Those underage drinkers might be stopped by law enforcement officials for the suspicion of underage drunk driving, which is a very serious criminal matter.

How do drunk driving laws differ for those under 21?

People who are at or above the legal drinking age can have a blood alcohol concentration of up to .08 percent before they are considered legally intoxicated. People who aren’t 21 years old don’t have that same standard. Zero tolerance laws stipulate that a person who isn’t 21 can be arrested for underage drunk driving if he or she has any trace of alcohol in his or her system. That means that even a glass of wine can lead to criminal charges if you drive after drinking and get caught.

Why does an underage DUI matter?

If you are charged with an underage DUI, you are facing criminal penalties that can include the loss of your driver’s license, incarcerations, fines, probation and other penalties. An underage DUI conviction can also lead to difficulties finding a job or housing because you will have a criminal record. If you are allowed to drive legally again, you will also notice that your vehicle insurance has gone up. For these reasons, you should explore the possible ways that you can handle your defense to determine how to proceed.

Source: FindLaw, “Underage DUI: Zero Tolerance Laws,” accessed May 30, 2016