Minors may think it’s cool to drink before they turn 21, but the reality is far from glamorous. Just because a motorist is underage, doesn’t mean they can’t get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). All 50 states employ a “zero tolerance” policy for minors, meaning that if any motorist under 21 years of age is caught operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, regardless of their level of intoxication, severe penalties will ensue.

While each state has their own definition of zero tolerance, most states have a “designated concentration” at .02 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage, which is equivalent to roughly one beer’s worth of alcohol consumption for the average teen. Some states have stricter laws in place, setting the cut-off at .00 percent BAC. This means that any trace of alcohol in the minor’s system will be enough cause for an officer to charge them with violating the law.

If a minor is arrested for driving while intoxicated, they might be charged with Juvenile DUI as well as consumption of alcohol by a minor and possession of alcohol by a minor. Punishments will vary by state and the severity of the crime, but at the very least, the minor can expect to have their license suspended. Some Juvenile DUI offenders are even incarcerated.

If you or someone you know is underage and has been charged with DUI, contact a DUI lawyer immediately to contest the charges.