Many adults who get pulled over on drunk driving charges know that they’re risking a DUI when they get behind the wheel. They feel buzzed or even intoxicated, and they still choose to drive. If they felt sober, they would know that they weren’t really running a risk of getting a DUI.
Unfortunately, it is not so simple for teenage drivers. They may run the risk of getting a DUI even when they feel entirely sober and don’t believe that they are actually a danger to others on the road.
Understanding the legal limit
The key to this is that the legal limit for a teenager is just a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02%. That is much lower than the 0.08% that other drivers have to adhere to. This is known as a Zero Tolerance Law, and it is used in Rhode Island and many other states.
While it does make sense that teens would have different rules since they shouldn’t be drinking at all, legally speaking, the problem is that a teenager may not feel like they have been drinking. At 0.02%, they may not even feel buzzed. They might have just had a few sips of a drink. They could even have consumed alcohol without knowing it if an apparently non-alcoholic drink has been spiked.
In other words, if your teen gets pulled over for a traffic infraction and has a very low BAC, they could still face very serious charges, as if they were recklessly intoxicated. They may be shocked to find out about this if they felt sober and they were thought they were driving safely. It is important for you, as a parent, to understand all of the legal options at your disposal.