A drunk driving charge is a serious issue at any age, but it can be particularly frightening when you are under the age of 21. North Carolina takes a strong stance against underage drinking and driving, and the penalties that you could potentially face can have a serious impact on your life.
If you are currently facing charges involving underage drinking and driving, you would be wise to take quick action to protect your rights. Securing the assistance of an attorney who can help you effectively confront these charges may be a wise move.
Zero tolerance in North Carolina
North Carolina's Zero Tolerance Law makes it illegal for a person under the age of 21 to drive after consuming any amount of drugs or alcohol. If law enforcement finds any discernable amount of alcohol, that is a BAC of anything over .00, in the system of a driver under the age of 21, the penalties could include temporary loss of license, increased insurance premiums and much more.
A conviction for underage drinking and driving can bring serious penalties, which include:
- Revoked license for a period of one year
- Punishment as Class 2 misdemeanor
- Community service along with $250 fine or jail time
- Court costs of almost $200
- Fines of $1,000
- Attorney fees
- Up to 400 percent increase in insurance fees
Any combination of these penalties can signal significant negative consequences in other areas of life. Underage drinking is not only a criminal matter, it can also have an impact on a person's social and educational life as well. A conviction for underage drinking and driving could mean the following:
- Loss of social life due to loss of license
- Loss of scholarships
- Removal from student and leadership organizations
- Expulsion or suspension from school
Your future is valuable. It is too important to leave to chance, so, if you are facing criminal charges, you would be wise to learn about your defense options immediately.
Confront the charges against you
Some people wrongfully assume that it is not possible to fight an underage drunk driving charge, and, therefore, it is best to simply plead guilty and deal with the consequences. In reality, it is possible to effectively confront these charges by challenging the circumstances of the traffic stop, the results of the breath test and more. The right defense strategy for you depends on the individual circumstances of your unique case and your legal objectives.