Because the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, North Carolina implements different, stricter laws surrounding underage individuals and impaired driving. These strict guidelines are known as “zero tolerance” laws and do not allow anyone younger than 21 to drive with any traces of alcohol in their system. If you, your child, or a loved one is facing an underage DWI in Waynesville, retaining a Waynesville underage DWI lawyer should be your first priority.
At Edwards Law, PLLC, our firm is ready to commit the time and support you deserve. Reach out to ask what our DWI lawyer and defense team can do for you.
At Edwards Law, PLLC, we know that being involved in an underage DWI case is frightening. While it may feel like you or your child’s future is at risk, it’s imperative that you remember that there are legal teams like us who are ready to help.
Edwards Law, PLLC, is devoted to protecting our clients during legal trials. We take the time to listen to our clients with compassion and form a personalized defense strategy. Each member of our staff is knowledgeable on both criminal defense and North Carolina DWI laws, allowing us to strategically fight for positive outcomes in underage DWI cases. If you’re currently involved in a Waynesville underage DWI case, schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible.
North Carolina uses federal “zero tolerance” laws to deter underage drunk driving. Zero tolerance laws state that individuals under the age of 21 cannot be found driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Simply put, this means that you can be arrested if you’re younger than 21 and found driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over 0.00%.
However, in order for the charge to be classified as an underage DWI, the underage driver must have a BAC of at least 0.08% or demonstrate clear signs of impairment. Otherwise, an underage driver found with lower levels of alcohol or drugs in their system may instead be charged with “driving after consuming.” Both driving after consuming and DWI charges are offenses related to underage impaired driving, but a DWI is often more serious.
There are a myriad of penalties that an individual can receive if they are ultimately convicted of an underage DWI in Waynesville. The age of the defendant and their BAC will play the largest role in determining their consequences, but you can expect to see one or more of the following penalties mandated:
Because underage DWIs are serious offenses, it’s incredibly challenging to work through them on your own. At Edwards Law, PLLC, we do everything in our power to find resolutions that can help our clients through underage DWI cases. From negotiating on your behalf to defending you both in and out of court, our team has the insight and experience needed to provide you with powerful defense aid. Our unbiased, compassion-driven services are essential for anyone dealing with underage DWI allegations in Waynesville.
“Driving after consuming” is a charge that only applies to individuals under the age of 21. In most cases, a driver younger than 21 can be charged with driving after consuming if they are found impaired to any extent while driving. For a driver under the age of 21 to be charged with an actual underage DWI, their BAC must be 0.08% or higher. However, both charges are misdemeanors and come with harsh penalties.
While jail time is a potential penalty for those convicted of underage DWIs in North Carolina, it is rare that first-time offenders are sent to jail. In most cases, the court tries to give younger defendants the chance to rehabilitate themselves and avoid tough consequences. Because of this, many first-time offenders can request probation instead of jail time. However, defendants with prior DWIs or criminal convictions may have a harder time avoiding jail.
Because North Carolina uses what are known as “implied consent” laws, all individuals must submit to a breathalyzer test when an officer has sufficient reason to request one. If you refuse to submit a breath sample, your license will immediately be suspended for one year. This is referred to as an “implied consent offense” and can cause more issues if you’re already being charged with an underage DWI.
Technically speaking, the state of North Carolina tries all defendants facing underage DWIs as adults. While defendants who are between the ages of 16 and 17 can be tried as minors in certain cases, all motor vehicle-related offenses and driving under the influence charges are considered adult offenses. This means you’ll be tried as an adult whether you got a speeding ticket or an underage DWI.
Being accused of an underage DWI doesn’t mean that your life is over. In fact, there are always effective legal strategies that can be used in intimidating cases. If you or your child was arrested for an underage DWI in Waynesville, don’t postpone scheduling your consultation with our team. The staff at Edwards Law, PLLC, has been passionately defending North Carolina residents for over a decade and is prepared to do the same for you and your family.
For defense representation in Waynesville underage DWI cases, contact our team at Edwards Law, PLLC.