NC impaired driving (DWI) law is different for an individual who is driving under the age of 21, after having consumed any alcohol or drugs. In this case, the underage individual can be charged with driving after consuming under age 21. Any amount of alcohol on the breath will likely justify a chemical analysis, and refusing to do so can subject the underage individual to license revocation under NC implied consent rules. Interestingly, NC statue states that odor of alcohol alone does not constitute evidence for the underage charge, however refusal to submit to chemical analysis does. So basically, if you're under age 21 and driving, its a zero tolerance policy under NC impaired driving law.
Driving privileges can be obtained for this charge if convicted, however the individual must have been 18,19, or 20 years of age in order to qualify. If the individual is charged and convicted of standard DWI, usually .08 BAC or higher, no driving privilege will be allowed. The charge of DWI can also accompany the underage charge with much lower BAC levels. It all depends on whether the officer believes, based on the investigation, that the driver is appreciably impaired.
All the normal challenges to DWI charges apply to underage driving after consuming. For example, the stop must be justified, and the probable cause must exist for the arrest. Another unique solution to this charge may be the Prayer for Judgement Continued. The PJC cannot be used for standard DWI, but if Underage Driving after Consuming is the only charge, a PJC will save judgement and the license. However, make no mistake, courts don't take these charges lightly. A judge's decision to grant a PJC under these circumstances is not an entitlement or right, but solely a gift given in the judge's discretion. If you, or maybe your younger family member has been charged with Driving after Consuming under age 21, contact an Asheville DWI Lawyer right away.