The United States Health & Human Services reports that one-in-five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days.
That high rate of underage drinking plus the high rate of binge drinking this age group participates in also places adolescents over the age of 16 at risk for driving under the influence. Adolescents and parents alike must be aware of this risk – as well as the potential penalties they could face if they drink and get behind the wheel.
Consequences of an underage DWI can be serious
North Carolina is tough on all DWIs. The laws are strict, and the penalties are even stricter. This is especially true if individuals are underage.
The state has a zero-tolerance statute for underage drinking, with no exceptions. The legal BAC limit is 0.00% for anyone under the age of 21. Therefore, the penalties for underage drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence are considerable.
They could face:
- Administrative penalties, including a loss of driving privileges and license revocation for 30 days;
- Criminal penalties including up to 60 days of jail time and a fine up to $1,000 for an underage DWI; and
- Attendance to a court-ordered alcohol education course.
In some cases, underage drivers could face both DWI charges and underage DWI charges. These are two different charges that could only compound the penalties teens face.
Additionally, a record of a DWI could also affect a child’s future for years to come, including their schooling and employment opportunities.
The charges individuals face often depend on the circumstances and the child’s previous record. This is why it is important for parents to contact an experienced DWI and criminal defense attorney, so they can learn more about how to protect their child’s rights and future.