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What happens if charged with underage drinking and driving?

If you are under the age of 21 and caught drinking and driving, you could face a myriad of serious criminal and administrative penalties. North Carolina has strict laws regarding underage drinking, and you would be wise to take the appropriate steps to protect your future.

You may be underage, but the penalties you are facing have the potential to make a serious impact on your college opportunities, future job opportunities and more. While much is at stake, a conviction or guilty plea is not your only option. With experienced legal support, you may be able to effectively confront these charges and avoid detrimental repercussions.

Zero tolerance and underage drivers

North Carolina has a zero tolerance law, which means that it is illegal for any driver under the age of 21 to drive with any discernible amount of alcohol in his or her system. If convicted, you may face some of the following penalties:

  • One-year revocation of driver's license
  • Punishment as Class 2 misdemeanor
  • Community service requirement and $250 fee or jail time
  • Court costs of almost $200
  • Fines up to $1,000

In addition to the threat of jail time and the expensive fines, you could find that your insurance premiums increase by as much as 400 percent. Drivers who are ages 18-20 may be eligible for limited driving privileges if they do not have a previous conviction for underage drinking. Limited driving privileges require a $100 fee.

The impact of a conviction

Underage drinking and driving is a serious crime, and the repercussions can extend far beyond your checking account and the loss of your personal freedom, especially if you have to go to jail. Those convicted of this type of crime may find that they also have to deal with the following:

  • Denial of admission into college
  • Denial of federal student loans
  • Missed job opportunities
  • Difficulty being approved for an apartment
  • Difficulty getting lines of credit
  • Expulsion from student or extracurricular activities
  • Loss of scholarships or honors

The possibility of these repercussions is daunting, but pleading out may not get you the best deal. Whether it is through negotiations with the prosecution or fighting the charge and the case against you, working with an experienced defense attorney from the very beginning can help you protect your future. Underage drinking and driving is serious crime, but you do not have to let a mistake derail your life.

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What happens if charged with underage drinking and driving? | Messer Law Firm