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Driving After Consuming Under the Age of 21 (aka “Baby DUI”)

The Criminal Defense Team of Hatch, Little & Bunn handles all Wake County traffic and criminal charges.

North Carolina General Statute 20-138.3(c) makes it a crime for a person less than 21 years of age to operate a motor vehicle on public street or highway at any time they have alcohol or some other controlled substance remaining in their system. This charge is referred to as Driving After Consuming Under the Age of 21, and underage drinking and driving ticket, and sometimes as a “baby DUI.” Driving After Consuming Under the Age of 21 is a class 2 misdemeanor and may affect your criminal record, your ability to drive, and can have long lasting effects on educational opportunities and employment. The charge applies to the consumption of alcohol or other controlled substance by defendants under the age of 21. Controlled substances may include marijuana, prescription medication, cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs. It is also not uncommon for a youngster to be charged with both Driving After Consuming Under the Age of 21 and Driving While Impaired.

Many considerations must be made in a driving after consuming under 21 case. Was the stop lawful? Was there more than an odor of alcohol? Was a preliminary breath test (PBT) used? Is the only evidence of consumption an odor of alcohol? If prescription medication is involved, was it lawfully prescribed? Upon what grounds does the charging officer base his probable cause to arrest?

Driving After Consuming under the Age of 21

Driving After Consuming under the Age of 21 is considered to be an Implied Consent Offense under N.C.G.S. 20-16.2. Under North Carolina’s Implied Consent law any person who drives a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area automatically gives consent to a chemical analysis. Any officer who has probable cause to believe that you have committed an implied-consent offense can ask to obtain a chemical test of that person’s blood, breath or urine. You have the right to refuse the chemical test, but your driver’s license could be revoked for up to one year based on that refusal.

If you are charged with an Implied-Consent offense, your license may be revoked automatically for 30 days for what is referred to as a civil revocation. Our team of defense attorneys can get you back on the road in as little as ten days so that you can get back to work, school, or maintaining your household. If you are convicted, your license will be revoked by the court and the DMV for one year. You may be eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege if 1) you are 18, 19, or 20 years old on the date of offense, and 2) you have not been previously convicted of this offense.

Call the Criminal Defense Team of Hatch, Little & Bunn.

Our team of attorneys can give you guidance on addressing your charges. We will clearly provide you with your options, educate you on your options, and execute the course of action you direct. By providing you with answers, we will relieve your stress level. We will focus on your case so you don’t have to. This allows our clients to focus on their daily lives while we manage the court matter. Call 919-714-4306 or contact us online today for a free consultation.


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