DWI laws and minors in Louisiana
Minors driving under the influence of alcohol face tighter restrictions than those of age, including a reduced legal BAC level.
Louisiana’s legal drinking age is 21 but there are some exceptions that exist for minors who feel they should be able to consume alcohol. For minors who are allegedly drinking outside these parameters, the state cracks down harshly and doles out severe penalties. If the minor was behind the wheel of a vehicle with alcohol in his or her system, the penalties often increase.
Instances when drinking is okay
Minors can legally consume alcohol in Louisiana if they are on private property that does not sell alcohol, and they must also have the permission of their parent or legal guardian. Minors can also consume alcohol for religious or medicinal purposes.
Zero tolerance for drinking and driving
As with adults, drinking might be acceptable under certain circumstances but drinking and driving is not-under any circumstance. The law takes into account that teen drivers are still learning to operate a motor vehicle, and as such, Louisiana significantly lowers the acceptable blood alcohol content a teen can have his in her system when driving.
For those 21 and over, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes driving while intoxicated; for a minor, that number is reduced to 0.02 percent or higher. What this means is if an 18-year-old girl consumed a glass of wine within 30 minutes and she weighed 110 pounds, her blood alcohol content level would 0.03 percent. If she were pulled over, even if she wasn’t driving impaired, she could still be charged with driving while intoxicated.
DWI penalties for minors
To prevent minors from being tempted to drink and drive, Louisiana hands down some tough penalties for those caught driving while impaired. For a first offense, a minor faces two days to six months in prison, a maximum $1,000 fine, and a maximum one-year license suspension. For a second offense, the teen may receive one to six months in prison, a maximum $1,000 fine, and a maximum two-year license suspension.
But that isn’t the only trouble a teen can get into. The state enacted an implied consent law, which means that when people are issued a Louisiana driver’s license, they automatically consent to blood alcohol content level testing when arrested for suspicion of drunk driving. If they refuse, including minors, they face a maximum one-year driver’s license revocation for their first offense, a maximum two-year suspension for their second offense, and the possibility of criminal charges for the third offense.
Get help restoring your driving privileges
Aside from the above, the consequences of a DWI on a driving record are costly. Not only will a person’s insurance premiums skyrocket, but multiple convictions could result in the suspension of driving privileges permanently. For young people looking to attend college or begin a career, a DWI could prevent acceptance into universities or employment. It is important to address DWI charges with the backing of a qualified Baton Rouge attorney.