Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous and criminal decision for people of any age. In Missouri, underage driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have significant consequences. You should contact an attorney immediately if facing this situation. For underage drivers, even a small amount of alcohol can cause serious consequences and impede opportunities later in life, including limiting employment and education opportunities.
Zero Tolerance Law in Missouri and License Suspension
The legal drinking age in Missouri is 21. Missouri’s Zero Tolerance Law means that any driver under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or higher can face legal consequences. Specifically, drivers can face criminal charges, driver license suspension, fines, and substance abuse programs. Law enforcement officers may use a breathalyzer or blood draw to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs if they have reasonable suspicion. Refusing to submit to the breathalyzer or blood test could result in the suspension of the driver license for up to one year.
DWI Penalty for Underage Drivers
The first offense is a Class B misdemeanor in Missouri. The driver faces up to six months in prison, a $500 fine, and the license can be suspended for 90 days. A second offense is much more serious. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor and includes the possibility of one year in jail and increased fine limits.
You may be charged as a minor in possession, which can result in points on your record for Minor in Possession while operating a motor vehicle with more than .02 percent (RSMO 311.325). Note that you will likely be charged with a regular DWI if you are a minor driving with a BAC over .08 percent.
Court Ordered Suspension and Revocation
Driving on Missouri roads is a privilege. Any person between 15-21 years of age may have their driving privilege suspended or revoked by a judge for the following reasons:
- The purchase (or attempt) of any intoxicating beverage.
- Possessing any intoxicating liquor.
- Visible intoxication under RSMo 577.001.
- Having a blood alcohol content level over .02 percent (RSMo 311.325)
Have you been charged with underage drinking and driving in Missouri? Paladin Law can help. Contact us today.