Under 21 DUI / Underage DUI

License Suspension and Criminal Charges for Underage Drinking and Driving

A driver who is under the legal drinking age of 21 may face different laws and penalties associated with DUI, DWI and OUI. Depending upon the state, such a driver may not operate a motor vehicle while with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% or higher. Many states follow "Zero Tolerance" laws in regard to drivers who are under the age 21. This means that a driver who is under 21 years of age may not drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system.

Though the laws may vary from state to state, the general rule of thumb in regard to underage drinking and driving is that it is not tolerated in any form whatsoever. An under 21 driver may face administrative license suspension (as opposed to criminal charges) for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .01% to less than .05% (the specific blood alcohol level will vary depending on the jurisdiction). If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration of .05% to less than .08%, a longer term of suspension and other penalties such as community service or alcohol rehabilitation may apply. Criminal charges may be filed against an under 21 driver who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater.

Under 21 DUI charges are particularly serious because a driver may face underage DUI penalties as well as regular criminal penalties associated with driving under the influence, depending on his or her blood alcohol level at the time of the alleged offense. These cases may also involve minors, which brings about the question of whether the case will be handled in juvenile court.

Due to their complexity and the significant impact that underage DUI offenses may have on a driver, it is important to consider involving an attorney as soon as possible. We welcome you to review more information on our website about DUI charges, your rights and the penalties for these offenses. We also welcome you to conduct a search for a local DUI lawyer who may be able to help you with your under 21 DUI case.

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