A drink or two may end in a trip to jail if the police pull you over. When you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you may find yourself facing stiffer penalties than your older counterparts.
The law established a special set of DUI laws that apply to underage drinkers. Discover what happens if you find yourself facing jail time on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The zero-tolerance policy
A driver aged 21 and older who gets caught on suspicion of drunk driving must pass the .08 BAC threshold to face charges. For those under 21, however, a BAC measuring .02 is enough to warrant charges. The state has a zero-tolerance policy regarding any alcohol consumption by those under the legal drinking age. Any trace of alcohol in your system is enough to charge you.
Breath test refusal
What if you refuse to take a roadside breath test? While that is within your legal right, you may face immediate consequences. First, under the implied consent law, you agreed to consent to testing when you got your license. When you refuse, the police may take your license, and the DMV may suspend it for one year. This holds even if you do not get charged with a DUI.
The impact on your future
A DUI charge under 21 may have a profound impact on your future. You may lose out on scholarships and financial aid for college, for starters. On a personal level, you may lose your license and find it difficult to commute to work or school. If caught again drinking and driving, you may face stiffer penalties and fines, including jail time.
Even if you are in the situation of facing DUI charges, you have choices. It helps to get a handle on the type of repercussions you face.