Minnesota’s “Not a Drop Law” makes driving under the influence of illegal substances a crime for all drivers under the age of 21.
Underage Drunk Drivers Face Serious Penalties
Minnesota has strict policies and harsh penalties for underage drunk drivers. The state’s “Not a Drop Law” or “Zero Tolerance Law” makes it illegal for all drivers under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of substances. Under these laws, there is mandatory violation enforcement regardless of the driver’s level of impairment or extenuating circumstances.
States with zero-tolerance policies are allowed to impose penalties on all DWI infractions and violations without subjective judgment that considers the actions or behaviors of the driver. An underage driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) higher than zero can face the same penalties as an adult driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. Without proper defense by a DWI attorney, underage drivers convicted of DWI face steep penalties and possible jail sentences.
Under Minnesota’s Underage Drinking Law, drunk drivers under the age of 21 face additional DWI penalties. The Underage Drinking Law prohibits the following actions:
- Consumption of alcohol without parental permission or supervision
- Possession of alcohol with intention of consumption
- Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol
- Entering a liquor store with the intent to purchase alcohol
- Entering a bar or nightclub with intent to purchase alcohol
- Lying or misrepresentation of legal age to purchase alcohol
When teenage drunk drivers aged 16 and 17 violate DWI laws, they fall under the jurisdiction of Minnesota’s adult courts, not juvenile courts. If convicted of drunk driving, they are subject to the full range of adult DWI penalties. In addition, a DWI conviction will result in the loss of the minor’s driver’s license, and he or she will not be permitted to reapply for a license until 18 years of age. Minnesota’s Not a Drop Law prevents flexibility for juvenile DWI offenders who must be tried in adult courts.
Legal defense by a Minneapolis DWI attorney is important for any underage driver arrested for DWI. A charge and conviction can result in steep monetary fines, probation or jail time, confiscation of a vehicle, termination of car insurance, mandatory alcohol education classes, and community service requirements. Since a DWI conviction remains on record, it can impact future employment, housing, credit, and lifestyle for an underage driver.