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Dysart Willis

Talking to your teenagers about DWI

Talking to your teenagers about drinking and driving can save their lives and their licenses. In North Carolina, drivers over the age of 21 are not legally intoxicated to drive until their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving. If your teenager is caught with alcohol in his or her system, the consequences could be harsh. 

Under North Carolina law, a person must take a blood or a breath test when arrested for a DWI. This falls under the “implied consent” law. By driving a vehicle in the state of North Carolina, the person agrees to submit to chemical tests to determine if alcohol was present while driving. A person can refuse to submit to chemical testing, but the consequences are a one-year license suspension, whether or not the person is intoxicated. 

Should your teen refuse to take a chemical test? 

It can be very stressful to be pulled over by law enforcement, even if you have not done anything wrong. A teenager might be even more fearful. You should discuss the consequences of driving while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a chemical test with your teen. Typically, refusing the test does not mean that the court cannot convict a person of a DWI. Law enforcement could argue that by refusing the test, the person knew that the test would reveal alcohol in his or her blood stream. 

As a parent, you should come up with solutions with your child to avoid drinking and driving. A phone call home is a better option than losing driving privileges for a DWI charge. Their safety and that of others is far more important. If your child is facing a DWI charge, getting the advice of a lawyer can help you find a strong defense to give your child the best possible outcome.