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What are the penalties for underage DWI in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2021 | criminal law

Young adults don’t always make the best decisions. A high school senior or young college student could decide to go to a big party on a weekend and end up driving home drunk. If police stop a driver who is under 21 for driving drunk, it doesn’t take much to face stiff consequences in North Carolina.

Zero-tolerance underage DWI laws

North Carolina, like many states, has zero-tolerance for underage drivers who are driving drunk. If an underage driver takes a breathalyzer test in North Carolina and it shows the driver has any amount alcohol in their system, police will charge the driver with underage DWI (driving while under the influence). If the underage driver refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test, police only have to smell alcohol on their breath for them to face drunk driving charges.

Another aspect of North Carolina’s zero-tolerance underage DWI law is that underage offenders will have their licenses revoked for a year. Before their DWI trial, their license is revoked for 30 days. If an underage driver is 18 and doesn’t have a prior DWI conviction, a judge may grant them a restricted license.

When facing DWI charges

For underage drivers facing DWI charges and their parents, they should know that having a criminal defense attorney handle their case can help. An attorney can advocate for the court to reduce the drunk driving charges and penalties.

You want the best outcome when facing underage DWI charges. Having legal representation is the best way to achieve that.