Do you worry about your teenager drinking and driving? Even if you’ve talked to them about it, it’s natural to worry as a parent. First and foremost, you don’t want them to cause an accident. But you also don’t want them to get arrested.
What many parents don’t realize is that it’s actually far easier for a teenager to get a DUI than it is for an adult. The reason for this is the implementation of zero-tolerance laws.
What is a zero-tolerance law?
Zero tolerance policies have been implemented all over the United States. In some places, they state that drivers cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or over if they are under 21 years old. In Washington DC, it simply states that a young driver cannot have any detectable alcohol in their system.
Whether or not there is a set line, the goal is the same. The law makes it so that a minor who has been drinking can get a DUI at virtually any level. That person may be almost as far from intoxicated or impaired as you can possibly get, but they can still get a DUI due to the fact that they’re underage.
The point of these types of policies is simply to crack down on young people who are drinking illegally. Since that drinking is illegal to begin with, driving is certainly illegal, and so the limit is set as low as possible.
The problem, of course, is that a driver who isn’t being affected by alcohol can now be accused of drunk driving. Maybe your teenager was at a friend’s house and accidentally consumed half of a spiked drink before they realize there was alcohol in it. Then they tried to drive home. If they get pulled over for rolling through a stop sign, is it really fair for them to get a DUI? What if they didn’t even know they were drinking alcohol?
Exploring your options
If something like this happens to your child, it will likely feel very unfair and you will be worried about their future. Make sure that you are aware of all the legal options that you have.