Young drivers in South Carolina should be aware of the legal standards that are set in place for individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol when they are 21 years of age and younger. It is illegal for individuals 21 years of age and under to purchase and possess alcohol.

In most states, motorists who drive with a .08 or higher blood alcohol concentration level could be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Zero-tolerance laws make it so that individuals under the age of 21 could also be charged with a criminal DUI offense if they have a blood alcohol concentration level of as little as .02 depending on the state. This means that drinking even the weakest beer or smallest glass of wine and then driving could lead someone under the age of 21 being charged with a DUI.

One of the main reasons why zero-tolerance laws have been put in place is because of the risk of fatal crashes for young drivers. When alcohol is involved, drivers under the age of 21 have nearly double the chances of being involved in a fatal accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about a third of deaths for individuals between 15 to 20 years old occur as a result of car crashes with 35% of those being related to alcohol.

Some young people feel that they have been unfairly charged with a DUI offense. An attorney may be able to look at a young person’s overall record, assess police procedures and possibly advocate for a reduced sentence. Everyone who is charged with a DUI has the right to defend themselves in court.