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What is Zero Tolerance for underage drunk driving in Mississippi?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2020 | Drunk Driving

Being arrested and charged with drunk driving in Mississippi can result in many challenges in a person’s life. A conviction may lead to a driver’s license suspension, jail time, fines and the need to put an ignition interlock device on the vehicle. For some, the charges take on greater urgency. If a person under the age of 21 is arrested for DUI, they will be subject to Zero Tolerance for Minors. This has specific consequences applicable to underage people who allegedly drank alcohol and drove.

While people who are older than 21 and are arrested for DUI will face charges if their blood-alcohol concentration is .08% or above, those under 21 will be charged if they register .02% or above. This is because people under 21 are not legally allowed to drink. They will fall under the law of Zero Tolerance if they do not surpass .08% BAC. If their BAC is .08% or higher, they will be subjected to normal DUI charges.

There are alternatives available to those who are confronted with Zero Tolerance. A non-adjudication for a first-offense DUI is possible. This is a program to intervene with a potential problem and give the defendant and opportunity to move forward without the DUI charge on his or her record. If there is a conviction of a first offense, there will be a $250 fine. The person must also attend an alcohol safety program within six months of the decision. A second offense within five years of the first will result in a fine of up to $500. For a third offense or more within five years, there will be a fine of up to $1,000 with the requirement to take part in and complete a program to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. There may also be an ignition interlock device installed on the person’s vehicle.

These penalties are problematic, but there are other factors that a person under 21 should consider when dealing with Zero Tolerance allegations. DUI charges can negatively impact a person’s future with job prospects and educational opportunities. This is something younger people should consider following an arrest. Losing driving privileges, raised insurance rates, and the above-listed penalties are all aspects of the case. It is wise to have legal professionals experienced in drunk driving cases assess the situation to determine the preferable course of action. This could make all the difference in achieving a favorable outcome.

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