The legal drinking age is 21 in the state of Missouri. But, many people drink alcohol well before their 21st birthday. It’s a crime to consume alcohol before reaching the legal drinking age–and it’s a far more serious crime to get behind the wheel after doing it. Here’s a look at the consequences of DWI for underage drivers in Missouri:
The Legal Limit For Underage Drivers
The legal limit for drivers that are over the age of 21 is 0.08%, however it is different for drivers that are underage. An underage driver can face legal consequences if their BAC is above 0.02%. Because this is so low, it doesn’t take much alcohol to raise an underage driver’s BAC above this level. However, it’s possible that the underage driver will be charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol instead of DWI if their BAC is below 0.08%.
Driver’s License Suspension
An underage driver who is arrested for DWI will face an immediate suspension or revocation of their driving privileges. The length of the suspension or revocation will depend on a number of circumstances, including the underage driver’s criminal record. For example, first-time underage DWI offenders may have their license suspended for a period of up to 90 days, whereas repeat offenders could face longer suspensions or revocations.
Delayed Driver’s License
Teens can obtain a driver’s permit when they turn 15 years old, and an intermediate license once they are 16 years old. But, the law states that drivers must not have been convicted of any alcohol-related offense over the last 12 months in order to obtain an intermediate license. This means if a driver with a driver’s permit is convicted of underage DWI, he cannot obtain his intermediate license until 12 months has passed since his conviction.
Anyone who is convicted of DWI for underage drivers in Missouri can face possible jail time. First-time underage DWI offenders face a maximum of six months behind bars, but repeat offenders can face longer sentences. It’s not common for a judge to sentence a first-time offender to six months in jail, but it is a real possibility that every defendant in this situation should prepare for just in case.
Being convicted of an underage DWI can also lead to substantial fines. The judge presiding over your case has the authority to impose fines of up to $500 for first-time offenders and more than $1,000 for repeat offenders.
Have you been charged with DWI for underage drivers? If so, contact the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC at once. Our criminal defense attorneys will aggressively defend your rights and protect your freedom. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation today.