Students beware. North Carolina has a zero tolerance law for drivers under 21 years of age. Drivers under the age of 21 cannot drink and drive, not even a sip. Being charged with driving after consuming under 21 can be a life shattering event. You will be prosecuted and the consequences can be severe. You will lose your driving privilege for a year, you will be assessed fines, be required to complete substance abuse classes, face possible sanctions from you college or university, and may even serve jail time.
If you are under 21 and face charges of driving after consuming, act now to keep your record clean. The Coolidge Law Firm represents young people facing impaired-driving charges. We will help build a strategy to attain the best possible results for your situation. Call a Raleigh underage-DWI lawyer at the Coolidge Law Firm today at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation.
We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Wendell, Rolesville, and Knightdale. Our clients include students at the many universities in the area, including UNC–Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Duke University, William Peace University, Shaw University, Meredith College and Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech).
Under North Carolina law, driving a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol is illegal.
A person 21 or older is impaired under the law if the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or over 0.08 percent.
However, under N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3, a person younger than 21 (the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol in North Carolina) cannot drive with even the slightest amount of alcohol or controlled substance in his system unless the controlled substance was lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically appropriate amounts. Prosecutors cannot to prove intoxication by odor alone. However, under the implied consent laws of North Carolina, you must submit to a test of your breath if requested by an officer. Registering any level of blood alcohol content will lead to criminal charges and possible license suspension.
A DWI conviction for a person younger than 21 carries the same penalties, including jail time, probation, fines, license suspension, and ignition interlock device requirements, that the same conviction would carry for a person older than 21.
North Carolina law divides impaired driving charges into six levels determined by mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors. Being underage is not one of these factors.
Mitigating factors include low BAC, safe driving, and a record free from serious infractions. Aggravating factors include a BAC at or above 0.15, reckless driving, or negligent driving causing an accident. A prior conviction for a DWI in the past seven years is a grossly aggravating factor.
Some of the universities and colleges in the area, including North Carolina State University, UNC–Chapel Hill, and Duke University, may pursue disciplinary action for criminal allegations. All students may face a student conduct board at their school and ultimately be asked to leave campus.
In a typical DWI arrest, officers ask the driver to take a chemical test. Prosecutors use the test results as evidence to prove the driver was impaired. The driver may refuse the test.
A driver under 21 cannot legally have any alcohol in his system. The BAC in an underage DWI arrest may be very slight, even as low as 0.01 or 0.02. A poorly calibrated or cleaned testing device could produce such a result for someone who had not consumed any alcohol.
At Coolidge Law Firm, we hire our own expert to challenge police procedures for BAC testing. We can challenge the results of your DUI test.
If you are younger than 21 and charged with driving after consuming alcohol or illegal drugs, you can keep a clean record. Your best chance at achieving this is hiring a highly skilled Raleigh underage-DWI lawyer to fight for your rights. Call the Coolidge Law Firm today at (919) 239-8448 so we can begin developing your defense strategy. We will help you in court and at your school if the need arises. Do not hesitate. Call today.
The first consultation is free. We represent clients charged in Wake County, including those in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Garner, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Zebulon, and Morrisville.