All states have adopted “zero-tolerance” policies toward intoxicated teen drivers. Their legislatures have established lower BAC limits for persons under age 21 — 0.02 %. That level represents the effect of approximately one can of beer, glass of wine, or shot of hard liquor on a person of average body weight, and much less than the typical level establishing DUI/DWI for adults.
Zero-tolerance laws fix lower BAC limits drivers under 21, i.e. underage drivers. Generally, this limit is fixed at the minimum easily and reliably detected by a breath testing device (i.e., .01–.02 BAC). Zero-tolerance laws often invoke other penalties including automatic suspension or revocation of driver’s license.
In most states, a person under 21 will be charged with DUI if his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.02 percent. However in some states, even a drop of alcohol in the system is sufficient for a underage DUI charge.
If the blood alcohol concentration is over the limit set by the zero tolerance law, the prosecution does not have to prove anything else. Actual impairment need not be proved.
If you have been charged with underage DUI, contact an experienced DUI lawyer. A conviction for underage DUI carries severe penalties.