We’ve all made bad decisions. For most, it’s simply a part of growing up. However, for many teens, this means choosing to drive while intoxicated. Unfortunately, this is not only against several laws, but it can be potentially deadly. A charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious matter regardless, and when the offender is a minor, that can result in large fines, loss of driving privileges, and, in some cases, even jail time.

What is an underage DWI?
North Carolina General Statute 20-138.3 holds that it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle in the state while consuming alcohol, or at any time while he or she has any amount of alcohol in his or her body. So, whereas motorists over the age of 21 can typically have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as high as .07 (with a few exceptions) and still legally operate a vehicle, younger motorists violate 2-138.3 if they register with any BAC at all. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor and can result in jail time as well as the loss of his or her license. If a person otherwise meets the conditions of a DWI, he or she may be charged with that in addition to the underage DWI.

What are the possible consequences?
While everyone’s situation is different if your child is younger than 21 and charged with a DWI, here are some consequences you can anticipate:
• Misdemeanor punishment
• Community service hours
• Expensive fees and fines
• Lengthy driver’s license revocation
• Jail time
• Probation
• Auto insurance increases
• Substance abuse treatment sentence

What to do next?
There are a number of things that Ludlum Law Firm can do to assist you if your child is charged with this offense in Duplin or Sampson counties. For example, some judges will enter a Prayer For Judgment (PJC) upon completion of certain alcohol treatment classes. The overall benefit of the PJC is that your child will not lose his or her license, and the charge will not be entered as a conviction. We can assist you and your child in signing up for the proper class to ensure he or she is considered for the PJC. If a PJC is not an option, the law also allows for a person who is 18-20 years old at the time of the offense to receive a limited driving privilege. We can draft the application for this privilege, have it signed by a judge, and submit it to the DMV on your behalf.

Underage DWI procedures can vary by community in North Carolina, which is why it’s important to get legal help from an experienced team like Ludlum Law Firm. Our DWI attorneys are here to help you get the best possible outcome for your child’s case. We offer free consultations at both of our office locations. Contact Ludlum Law Firm today so we get started on your case!