If you live in the State of Tennessee and/or drive on state’s roadways on a regular basis you are likely aware of the state’s drinking and driving laws. Operating a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol (DUI), or while “intoxicated” (DWI), is illegal in Tennessee. One method the State uses to prove that you are in violation of Tennessee’s DUI law is to produce evidence that your blood alcohol content, or BAC, was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. If you are not yet old enough to consume alcohol legally, however, you need to know “ What is an underage DUI in Tennessee? ”
In Tennessee, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. In theory this means that no one under the age of 21 consumes alcohol. We all know, however, that the drinking age laws are regularly violated. Consuming alcohol before you are 21 years old is a criminal offense, albeit a relatively minor one. Consuming alcohol and then operating a motor vehicle though is a serious offense. In an effort to impress upon young drivers the serious nature of drinking and driving, Tennessee has a “zero tolerance” laws. These laws have been enacted in many states across the country in recent years in an attempt to curb drinking and driving by young drivers. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 55-10-415 makes it a criminal offense for an underage driver to drive while under the influence of any intoxicant or with a BAC over 0.02 percent. Where an adult driver is allowed to legally have a drink and then get behind the wheel provided his/her BAC level does not exceed 0.08 percent, an underage driver cannot consume any alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle.
Violating the State of Tennessee’s zero tolerance law is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by a license revocation of one year. Moreover, you are not eligible for a restricted license if you are convicted of underage DUI. You may also be fined up to $250 and required to complete community service work. Along with the immediate punishment handed down for an underage DUI conviction, the conviction may remain on your permanent record for the rest of your life and could be used to increase the potential penalties should you be convicted of a subsequent criminal offense down the road.
If you, or your child, are facing charges for underage DUI in Tennessee, contact the experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.