Under zero-tolerance law, minors may be charged with “driving under the influence of alcohol” or DUI if any trace of alcohol is found in their vehicle.
Under the National Uniform Drinking Age Act, all states in the United States were required to adopt 21 as their minimum legal drinking age. People under the age of 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol. Still, those who drink alcohol and drive may face penalties under Zero Tolerance Law. Blowing even just a 0.01 on a Breathalyzer could result in administrative and criminal consequences. This article will address the zero-tolerance law and how an experienced attorney can help you fight back.
What the Zero Tolerance Law entails
According to the Zero Tolerance Law, any driver under the age of 21 found driving while having any trace of alcohol in their system may face having their driver’s license suspended. Under this law, minors can be charged with DUI even if their blood alcohol content level is below the standard limit of 0.08.
However, there are exceptions to this law. For example, minors found driving while having alcohol in their system may not face penalties if they consumed alcohol as a part of their religious service or ingested a prescribed medication containing alcohol.
The potential penalties for underage drinking and driving
The penalties minors can face for drunk driving depend on their previous DUI conviction records. Minors charged with underage DUI for the first time may:
- Lose their driving privileges for minimum of 2 years
- Face a possible prison sentence of 1 year
- Be required to pay a fine that doesn’t exceed $2,500
In contrast, minors charged for intoxicated driving for the 3rd time may:
- lose their driving privileges for at least 10 years
- be required to serve a mandatory 18 to 30-month jail
- sentence up to 7 years in prison
- be fined (not exceeding $25,000)
Moreover, this offense is now considered a Class 4 felony. Remember, if underage intoxicated drivers cause a crash that results in serious bodily harm, they are automatically charged with Aggravated DUI, which is also considered a Class 4 felony. This offense can cause a possible prison sentence of up to 12 years, the requirement to pay a maximum fine of $25,000, and the loss of their driving privilege for a minimum of 1 year.
Other possible penalties of a zero-tolerance DUI conviction could include:
- Court fees
- Mandatory community service
- Permanent revocation of their license
- Court supervision
Does Zero Tolerance mean No Exceptions?
Minor and their parents may mistakenly believe that low blood alcohol concentration will cause decreased consequences. However, this isn’t often the case. On the surface, it might seem easy to avoid such violations. But some factors are often misunderstood. For example, a minor may consume a drink that is considered non-alcoholic, yet enough to violate the zero-tolerance law. Mouthwashes, lip glosses, and gums may also contain some amount of alcohol that can trigger a false positive in minors.
Additionally, those charged with underage DUI might experience difficulty in finding educational or employment opportunities. If you face such charges, contact Oracle Legal Group to find out what legal steps you should take next. You can also find an affordable and skilled banking and finance lawyer here. Our team is ready to help you!