Reminder: Vanessa’s Law Traps Underage Drivers

Since summer time is here, we all need to be aware that DWI and speeding patrols are increased, including enforcement of teenagers covered by Vanessa’s Law, as the police have announced. In addition, teen drivers are hitting the roads for the first summer, unaware that a single open bottle ticket could mean that they lose their driver’s license for up to two years. So, we are re-posting an earlier explanation of Vanessa’s law and its affects on Minnesota teen drivers with alcohol or crash-related tickerts, including but limited to teenagers with DWI’s.

Teen drivers receive harsher penalties for violating the law than do drivers over the age of 18. One such example is known as Vanessa’s Lawwhich includes those charged with DWI and underage drinking and driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. It states:

  1. An unlicensed driver under 18 who receives a crash-related traffic violation may not receive a driver’s license, including an instruction permit or provisional license, until age 18.
  2. An unlicensed driver who receives an alcohol or controlled substance
    violation may not receive a driver’s license, including an instruction permit or provisional license,until age 18. “Alcohol and controlled substance violation” includes a DWI, an implied consent violation, an underage drinking and driving (i.e. an alcohol content over .00, while driver is under the age of 21), and even an open bottle violation. Yes, if you are an unlicensed driver under the age of 18, and there is an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, you can lose your driver’s license until you turn 18, even if you weren’t drinking.
  3. A driver with a provisional license who receives an alcohol/controlled substance revocation of the driver’s licenses or a crash-related traffic violation loses their license until age 18.
  4. An under 21 driver convicted of an underage drink and drive offense loses his license for a least 30 days, with no Limited License or Work Permit available during that time.

A teen driver whose license is revoked under Vanessa’s Law must undergo a number of steps to regain a license, including (1) Serve the withdrawal period;(2) Pass a written test,(3) pay all appropriate fees, (4) hold an instruction permit for 6 months before taking a road test (5) pass the road test.

If you have been charged with a crime under Vanessa’s Law, it does not mean you are out of options. You may have legitimate defenses. An aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney like Max A. Keller, can use these defenses and fight to get your driver’s license back and keep both your driving record and criminal record clean. Contact Max A. Keller today in order to discuss your case.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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