Like several other states in the nation, Minnesota has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to minors driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the “Not a Drop Law,” a motorist under the age of 21 may be charged with underage drinking and driving for having any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system.
An arrest for this crime will not only result in a suspension of driving privileges but may also be punishable by significant fines as well other punishments. If a minor’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher, then he or she can be subject to the normal driving while impaired (DWI) charges and penalties.
Apple Valley Underage DWI Lawyer
If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking and driving in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, it is in your best interest to have experienced legal representation. Former prosecutor James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law knows how to identify the weaknesses in these cases, and he will work tirelessly to have these charges reduced or completely dismissed for clients in Anoka County, Dakota County, Ramsey County, and Hennepin County.
Our Dakota County underage DWI attorney represents minors accused of this crime in such communities as St. Cloud, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Blaine, and many more. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (952) 431-7758 to take advantage of a completely free consultation.
Minnesota Underage DWI Information Center
- How can a minor be charged with this crime?
- What are the consequences if a person under the age of 21 is convicted of this offense?
- What is Vanessa’s Law?
Underage drinking and driving is prohibited under Minnesota Statute § 169A.33, otherwise known as the Not a Drop Law. While normal DWI charges traditionally apply when a motorist has a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the Not a Drop Law makes it a crime for any person under the age of 21 years to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while consuming alcoholic beverages or after having consumed alcoholic beverages while there is physical evidence of the consumption present in the person’s body.
While a minor can be charged with a crime for driving with any BAC that is higher than 0.00, it is also important to note the specific term “in physical control of a motor vehicle” in this statute. This phrase means that it is possible for an alleged offender who is passed out in a driver’s seat or pulled over on a roadway to be charged with this crime if he or she is in possession of the keys to the automobile while having any alcohol in his or her system.
Underage drinking and driving is classified as a misdemeanor, but alleged offenders can still be charged with normal DWI offenses that carry more significant penalties if their BACs are 0.08 or higher. This is also true if the minor is under the influence of or his or her body contains any amount of a controlled substance.
There is a criminal penalty and an administrative penalty for underage drinking and driving. Since this crime is classified as a misdemeanor, the statutory maximum punishments under Minnesota law may include:
- Fine of up to $1,000; and/or
- Up to 90 days imprisonment.
While it is rare for alleged offenders in these cases to receive maximum sentences, judges still retain the power to impose other punishments. These may include several hours of mandatory community service, required drug or alcohol treatment, or completion of alcohol education classes.
Administratively, a minor who is convicted of underage drinking and driving will have his or her driver’s license suspended for 30 days. If the alleged offender has any previous underage DWI convictions, then his or her license will be suspended for 180 days.
Drivers who are under the age of 18 may face additional penalties under the legislation known as “Vanessa’s Law.” The bill was named in memory of Vanessa Weiss, a 15-year-old who was killed in a May 2003 single-car accident. Weiss was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver who had just recently turned 15 years of age.
Vanessa’s Law was enacted one year after the teenager’s death, and it withholds the driver’s license of unlicensed teen drivers who are arrested for underage drinking and receive crash-related moving violations. Under this law, teenagers convicted of underage DWI cannot receive their driver’s licenses—including instruction permits or provisional licenses—until they turn 18 years of age.
If an unlicensed teen receives a crash-related moving violation or an alcohol or controlled substance-related violation, he or she will fulfill the following requirements in order to be given a license when he or she turns 18 years of age:
- Pay fines of up to $680;
- Pass driver’s license knowledge test; and
- Obtain and hold an instruction permit for at least six months (three months for drivers 19 years of age or older) and then pass the road test.
Provisional license holders who have their driving privileges revoked due to crash-related moving violations or alcohol or controlled substance-related violations must fulfill the following requirements in order to obtain a full driver’s license:
- Pay fines of up to $680;
- Complete classroom portion of formal driver education course;
- Obtain an instruction permit and hold it for three months; and
- Complete a driver’s behind-the-wheel class.
James Blumberg Law – An Underage DWI Lawyer in Dakota County
Were you or your child arrested for underage drinking and driving in the greater Twin Cities area? As a former prosecutor in the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, James Blumberg has handled countless criminal charges against minors.
James Blumberg Law aggressively defends clients under the age of 21 in Plymouth, Bloomington, Coon Rapids, Lakeville, Woodbury, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, and many other surrounding cities. Call (952) 431-7758 right now to have our Apple Villa underage DWI attorney review your case during a free, confidential consultation.