North Carolina has applied a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers who decide to drink. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in your system if you are under the age of 21. Any amount. Driving after consuming under 21, also referred to as a “baby DWI” or “provisional DWI,” is a serious misdemeanor that can result in a permanent criminal record and serious DMV consequences.
Just like a normal DWI charge, a young person accused of drinking and driving can be made to give a breath sample, and if that sample is high enough or other evidence of noticeable impairment exists, that young person could be facing a more serious DWI charge.
Driving after consuming under 21 is a serious misdemeanor, allowing a judge to sentence a young person to a substantial fine, probation, and/or jail time. Almost as significant is the punishment that will be assessed by DMV, a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension. If the person was at least 18 at the time of the offense, a limited driving privilege is usually available during the one year suspension period.
For underage drinking and driving charges in Raleigh and Wake County, some judges are inclined to give these offenders a prayer for judgement (PJC) if the facts allow it and they are satisfied by the mitigating factors presented. A PJC will save the offender from losing there license for the next year. This is an extraordinary result, and it can only happen in cases where the person was not noticeably impaired. Substance abuse treatment and community service are usually part of negotiations when a young person is afforded this result in Wake County.
Steven Saad, a Raleigh and Wake County criminal defense attorney, has years of legal experience as both a defender of the accused and a former Wake County prosecutor. He passionately defends the people of his community that have been accused of crimes and have found themselves in our criminal system. Steven’s primary motivation is to obtain the best possible results in each of his clients’ cases.
During his years as a Wake County District Attorney, Steven prosecuted tens of thousands of criminal cases. His experience gives him unparalleled insight into the criminal court process in Wake County. Knowing that a case can be won or lost in the smallest details, he views preparation and communication with clients throughout a case as critical.
To discuss your case with an experienced and effective defense attorney and former Wake County prosecutor, contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you.