What Minnesota’s Not a Drop Law Could Mean for Your Case

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.

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

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.