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Underage drinking can lead to serious problems

Drunk driving charges pose problems for adults. When a person who hasn't yet turned 21 years old opts to drive after drinking alcohol, the problems that they can face are often very serious. Zero-tolerance laws mean that a person who is under 21 can face legal issues even if they have a blood-alcohol concentration that is below the .08 percent that is the limit for adults.

For people who are under the legal drinking age, the limit for BAC is .02 percent in South Carolina. This means that the limit is a lot lower. In some cases, even something like a glass of wine might lead to criminal charges if you are under 21 and drive after having that wine.

When it comes to underage drunk driving offenses, the intoxication of the person doesn't come into the picture as long as the BAC is at or above the legal limit. Known as a per se offense, this means that the mere presence of a BAC percentage above the elgal limit is enough for a criminal charge.

One reason why the BAC is so much lower for people who aren't yet 21 is because of the National Highway Systems Designation Act of 1995. This act noted that if states wanted to qualify for federal funds for highways, they had to have a BAC of no more than .02 as the limit for all drivers who are under 21. It is said that this BAC implementation is associated with a lower rate of fatal one-car accidents at night when an underage driver is a factor.

If you are facing a DUI under the Zero Tolerance Law, you should be prepared to fight the charge. This means finding out what defense options might be useful in your case and building a defense based on those.

Source: FindLaw, "Underage DUI: Zero Tolerance Laws," accessed June 27, 2016

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