A person under 21 can be prosecuted for DUI even if they are under the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limit. A Criminal attorney in Rockwall TX, will tell clients that legal standards are different for those under the legal drinking age. This article serves as an introduction to DUI law for underage drinkers.
Zero Tolerance Laws
Every state and the District of Columbia prohibits those under 21 from possessing or purchasing alcohol. While it normally takes a .08 BAC for a motorist to need a Criminal attorney in Rockwall TX, zero tolerance laws lower that limit for underage offenders. These laws make it a crime for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with even a trace of alcohol in the bloodstream, and limits can be as low as .02, depending on the location. These laws may seem harsh, but they were implemented to fight the dangers posed by underage drinking.
Reasoning Behind Zero Tolerance
Over one-third of all deaths of motorists 15-20 years old are due to car accidents and, of that number, 35% of crashes are alcohol-related according to NHTSA. The rate of alcohol involvement is twice as high for young drivers as it is for those over 21. States must consider a .02 limit for underage drivers to receive federal highway funding, and states must set a .02 BAC as a per se offense.
A study done by NHTSA compared states with zero tolerance laws to those without such rules, and the study found that zero tolerance states had 20% lower fatality rates for nighttime accidents involving those under 21. The steepest declines were seen in states with an underage BAC limit of .02 or lower, while minor effects were seen in states with a higher underage BAC limit.
The Risks of Underage DUI
Beyond the risks to safety and health posed by underage DUI, these offenses can have lifelong implications that can ruin a young motorist’s future. An underage DUI conviction can have negative effects on employability and make auto insurance much more expensive for the affected driver.
It can be scary and confusing for an underage driver to face a DUI charge. A person facing such charges and needing to understand the consequences should talk to Law Offices of Tim Hartley, a Criminal attorney in Rockwall TX.
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