Young people are subject to a different set of rules when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Put simply, you cannot legally drink until you are 21 years old. As such, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is lower for underage drinkers than it is for adults. Every state and the District of Columbia have enacted “zero-tolerance” laws, which basically means that any underage driver caught with a BAC above 0.00 percent is subject to a DUI charge.
The federal government has reasons for implementing a nationwide zero-tolerance policy. The government conducted a study and found that many fatal car crashes involving those 15 to 20 years of age were related to alcohol use. To combat this problem, the federal government required any state that wanted to access to federal highway funding to pass laws that lowered the legal limit for underage drivers. Another government study produced evidence that zero-tolerance laws were effective, so you can expect these laws to stick around for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, most courts and prosecutors will work with you and your attorney to arrive at a punishment that does not jeopardize your future, but this all depends upon the facts of your case and your life. You may have to subject yourself to a combination of punishments like alcohol classes and community service, but it is a better option than felony charges and jail time.
If you are confronted with a driving under the influence charge, then you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can efficiently navigate the legal system in an effort to help you get your best possible outcome.