Driving After Consuming While Under Age 21: Punishment & Possibilities

  1. Criminal Disputes
  2. DWI/DUI
  3. Driving After Consuming While Under Age 21: Punishment & Possibilities

A conviction for driving by a person less than 21 years old while consuming alcohol or after consuming alcohol with any amount remaining in the driver’s system is a Class 2 misdemeanor. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.3(c).  Where the Defendant has no prior conviction, a Class 2 misdemeanor carries with it a sentence of 1 – 30 days of community punishment.  Further, the Division of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) must revoke the license of a person for one year upon a conviction of violating the provisions of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-13.2 (a), (d).  Finally, the Court will assess court costs.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.3(d) provides that where a person is convicted of violating N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.3(a) and his license is revoked solely based on that conviction, he may apply for a limited driving privilege.  In addition to the foregoing requirements, the Defendant must also have been 18, 19, or 20 years old on the date of the offense, and has not previously been convicted of a violation of this section.  N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.3(d).  The issuance of a limited driving privilege is at the Court’s discretion based on a showing of good cause, particularly with regard to the Defendant’s need to drive for essential purposes, such as employment; maintenance of household; education; court-ordered treatment or assessment; community service ordered as a condition of probation; and emergency medical care.  N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-179.3(a).  Prior to granting the driving privilege, the judge must be furnished proof of Defendant’s financial responsibility which can be shown by documentation of the driver’s nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability policy.  N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-179.3(l).  A DL-123 form will suffice for showing financial responsibility.

You will want to speak with an attorney concerning your individual case. If, for instance, you have been charged under this statute as well as the driving while impaired statute and are certain that any blood test taken will show a blood alcohol concentration in an amount sufficient for a conviction on the driving while impaired charge, then it may be beneficial for you to plead to the driving after consuming charge prior to the blood test results coming back (if possible) so that a driving privilege is not denied based on high alcohol concentration. There are other circumstances where the DMV can block a driving privilege, even if granted by the court. An experienced attorney in the area where you have been charged will be more familiar with its county practices concerning driving privileges and plea negotiations and can help you navigate the process. King Law Offices, PLLC, currently has offices in 9 counties to best serve you. Give one of our attorneys a call concerning you matter for immediate attention.


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