Underage Drinking, Zero Tolerance and DWI


The summer season provides thousands of young people a sun-soaked break from classes and daily responsibilities. During this time of the year, the coastal and southern parts of the United States are flocked by energetic youth interested in nothing but a good time. While this is a great opportunity to relax and engage in fun activities, it brings a higher risk for underage drinking and underage DWI.

There are several different types of violations in the realm of underage drinking. One of these is using fake identification. It is illegal to use a fake ID or somebody else’s ID to attempt to purchase alcohol from a licensed establishment. It is also illegal for others to help minors obtain alcohol. This can result in a Class II misdemeanor and up to $1,000 in fines. If you are in between the ages of 19 – 20, then any of these actions can be identified as a Class III misdemeanor, up to $200 in fines and community punishment/probation.

In the state of North Carolina, there is a “Zero Tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. It is against the law for any person under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system. It is not required to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% in order to be charged. You actually do not have to be found impaired at all to be guilty of underage drinking and driving. If found under the age of 21 driving while legally impaired, you can also be charged with a DWI in addition to “Zero Tolerance.”

While underage drinking is highly punishable by law in North Carolina, there are additional consequences if Driving While Impaired. If convicted of DWI, there is a one-year license revocation, no limited driving privileges if the driver is under the age of 21 at the time of the offense, fines and community service hours. It is punishable with high court costs with fines as well as significant increase in insurance premiums.

The Implied Consent Law, which states that driving a vehicle means you have agreed to submit to chemical tests of your blood, breath and/or urine if asked by law enforcement, still applies even if you’re under 21. If you refuse to take this test, it will be used against you in the court of law and your driver’s license will be suspended immediately.

The Robinson Law Firm, P.A. has over 30 years of experience dealing with underage drinking, “Zero Tolerance” and DWIs. This can be a very stressful and scary process, especially for young offenders. Our firm will be able to walk you through this process and will do everything possible to fight for your case and future. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Categories: Blog, DWI, Law Enforcement, Underage DWI