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At Craft Law Offices, we are bankruptcy attorneys who also specialize in handling underage drinking citations as well as traffic violations. If you’re caught drinking alcohol under the age of 21, you can be given a drinking citation. The penalties are even more severe if you’re under 21 and found drinking under the influence. Here’s what you need to know about DWIs and underage drinkers:

North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to DWI infractions, meaning that someone under the age of 21 is not allowed to have any amount of alcohol or controlled substances (unless prescribed to the person in question) in your system. If you are caught driving under the influence while underage, you will likely receive penalties from both the NC Department of Transportation as well as the NC criminal system.

When it comes to penalties from the NC DOT, underage drivers who receive a DWI will immediately have their license revoked for 30 days. If an underage drinker refuses to take a breathalyzer test at the time of arrest, they can lose their license for up to a year, even if they’re later found not guilty of the charges in court. Furthermore, if the arresting officer smells alcohol on the underage driver’s breath, they can still be convicted, even without a breathalyzer test. After convicted, drivers under the age of 18, lose their license for at least a year, while the period of license revocation varies for those ages 18-21, depending on their prior record.

Criminal penalties for an underage DWI, which is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor, are up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The severity of the sentence depends on the offender’s previous criminal record. Offenders can also be placed on probation or ordered to participate in treatment or community service, based on the judge’s discretion.

Overall, drinking underage is not worth the risk. Not only does it carry serious legal and driving consequences, but it also puts the driver and all others on the road in serious risk of harm and even death.

For bankruptcy attorneys who can offer legal guidance on a number of concerns, give us a call at Craft Law Offices in Greenville, NC. For more information on underage DWIs, visit dui.drivinglaws.org.