Driving After Consuming Under the Age of 21 in North Carolina

North Carolina differentiates the types of Driving While Impaired (DWI) charges by age and blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

The Difference Between a Baby DWI and an Adult DWI

If you are over the age of 21 and you have a BAC of 0.08 or over, you are charged with an “adult” DWI. If you are under the age of 21, and you blow anything from a 0.01 to a 0.07, you can be charged with a “baby” DWI. A baby DWI applies to someone who has any alcohol in his system while driving under the age of 21 being that you are not supposed to be drinking at all under 21. In fact, you can even be charged with a baby DWI if the officer detects the odor of alcohol and you don’t blow into the breathalyzer.

If you are under the age of 21 and you blow a 0.08 or above on the breathalyzer, then you can be charged with an adult DWI. The penalties for a person under the age of 21 convicted of a regular DWI are no different than a person that is over 21.

What is the Punishment for a Baby DWI, or Driving After Consuming < 21?

The punishment for a baby DWI in North Carolina, which is a Class 2 misdemeanor, may include:

  • 1-30 days of community punishment
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Loss of your driver’s license for up to one year

A DWI offender that is under the age of 18 is not eligible for a limited driving privilege (LDP) upon conviction for an adult DWI. Only offenders who are over the age of 18 are eligible for the LDP during the one year revocation period.

What Does a DWI Conviction Mean for Your Future?

A DWI, whether adult or baby, can have a serious impact on your future. First, if it happens over the age of 18, it will not be expungeable for at least 15 years. This means that the DWI can be reported on background checks and can impact employment, college admission, financial aid, and housing. In addition, insurance rates increase exponentially as a result of a DWI conviction.

Even a baby DWI is a serious thing. Make sure to get an experienced, aggressive Raleigh DWI lawyer on board to fight for your case.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.