If you’re an adult who is driving after you have consumed alcohol, you probably know that the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%. Some people will even buy their own breath test to check before they drive. Either way, you know that this is the limit that you are not supposed to exceed without risking DWI charges.
This is all true, as 0.08% is the standard limit for most drivers. However, there are a few ways in which drivers can get a DWI, even when they are under that legal limit. One way is simply evidence of impairment cited by police officers, which they can use to charge anyone with a DWI if they believe that driver is impaired, regardless of their BAC level. Another example is when the officer has pulled over a teenage driver.
Zero tolerance laws
The difference comes from the fact that Minnesota, like all other states, uses zero-tolerance laws for teen drivers. A teenager who is 16 years old can have a license and drive by themselves, but they are still five years away from being able to legally buy a drink. As such, if a teenager is given a breath test where almost any amount of alcohol is detected, then the police can charge them with a DWI.
What does this mean for a teenager? It means that even drinking half of a beer or merely deciding to try alcohol at a party could be enough to put them at risk of getting a DWI. They won’t feel impaired or think they have drunk too much to drive, but their legal limit is so much lower. If your child has been arrested, be sure you know about all of your legal options.