Can you discuss underage DWI? What are some of the penalties associated with this charge in North Carolina?
North Carolina law subjects drinking drivers under the age of 21 to additional criminal liability and limits their ability to seek a limited privilege. In North Carolina, driving by a person under the age of 21 after consuming alcohol or a controlled substance is a zero tolerance offense. While the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the breath of a driver is generally not sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that alcohol was remaining in the driver’s body, the law tolerates no measurable alcohol concentration. A conviction for driving after consuming and being less than 21 is a Class 2 misdemeanor and will result in a one-year revocation of their driving privilege from the DMV. This offense is in addition to and not a lesser offense than driving while impaired. If a person is convicted of driving while impaired and driving after consuming that arose out of the same transaction, the collective punishment ordered may not exceed or be less than the relevant punishment for DWI. A person under the age of 21 at the time of the offense who is convicted of DWI is subject to all the same levels of punishment that a person who is over 21, but there is no possibility of limited driving privilege that would normally be available to a driver that was over 21 at the time of the offense.