Almost 1 out of every 5 fatal vehicular accidents that are attributed to drunk driving involve individuals who are younger than 21 years old. Studies have shown that adolescents are more prone to binge drinking compared to their older counterparts. The pressure of college as well as their peers have contributed to a deadly mix of binge drinking and drunk driving. As such, with the passage of the Zero Tolerance Law requiring all states to charge under-21 drivers of vehicles with DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is at least 0.02 percent.

Some jurisdictions have instituted stiffer requirements, however. For example, North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona only requires presumptive evidence of drunk driving as enough proof to charge the underage with DUI. The BAC in these three states is anything above 0.00%. This means that if the underage individual was stopped for DUI check and his BAC resulted in a 0.0001 percent, this is enough reason to charge the individual with DUI. Other states have tweaked the mandatory 0.02 percent BAC to 0.01 percent while others require a 0.05 percent BAC minimum before a DUI charge can be brought to fore.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the DUI charge, additional charges may be meted onto the offender. In some jurisdictions, this can include distribution of alcohol or intoxicating substances to other minors especially if there were other minors in the vehicle at the time of the apprehension. Minor in possession, violations in child endangerment law, and soliciting alcohol may be leveled as well.


Penalties may therefore be anywhere from a combination of administrative penalties to criminal sentences that can include incarceration and fines. Administrative penalties can include the suspension and revocation of the driver’s license as well as the possible installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.

The question as to the effectiveness of the Zero Tolerance Law in terms of curbing the incidence of fatal car accidents involving teenage drunk driving has been unequivocally answered by recent reports of a steady decline of such incidents. However, it should be noted that of greater importance is the implications of being charged with a criminal offense at such a young age. Not yet in the employed section of the general population, these DUI underage offenders will have issues gaining reputable employment if their records do not get expunged. If you happen to get into the loop at tender age, and drunk driving is ruining your life, PHD can help you through.

If you know an underage who is in trouble with a DUI charge, you can get in touch with as they have had a lengthy experience managing such complicated DUI charges.

DUI, Minors, and the Zero Tolerance Law