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North Carolina has zero tolerance for underage drinking

Alcohol has different attractions for different people. For many teens, however, there is often a sense of rebellion or the need to fit in with other teens who are drinking. As a person nears 21, the legal age to drink in North Carolina and other states, he or she may feel that 19 or 20 is close enough to get away with consuming alcohol. However, the state's zero tolerance laws may prove that to be a bad decision.

In North Carolina, those who are younger than 21 may not consume alcohol. In fact, it is a misdemeanor offense that may result in fines, community service, court costs and potentially jail time, if convicted. The consequences can be even more severe if an underage drinker drives after consuming alcohol.

For drivers 21 and older, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08. For anyone younger than 21, the legal limit is zero. This means that any amount of alcohol in an underage driver's system may result in harsh penalties.

For example, police will confiscate the driver's license for any BAC reading above .00. A driver's license may be revoked for refusing a BAC test. A conviction for driving after drinking underage may result in loss of driving privileges for a year, plus fines up to $1,000, court costs and community service or jail. After a conviction, a driver under 21 can expect his or her auto insurance to increase as much as 400 percent.

Drinking at a young age can have a serious impact on one's health and safety. While abstaining from alcohol is best, avoiding a conviction for underage drinking is important for many reasons, least of which many be avoiding these penalties. Seeking advice from a North Carolina attorney may be the best way to protect one's future in the face of these charges.

Source: connect.ncdot.gov, "Underage drinking. Adult consequences", Accessed on Nov. 3, 2017

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North Carolina has zero tolerance for underage drinking | Messer Law Firm