Law enforcement officials throughout the state of Louisiana are vigilant about stopping and arresting individuals that they believe are driving while under the influence of alcohol. While many of the men and women that they investigate are at or above the legal drinking age, some fall below the minimum age of 21. When a person under 21 is investigated for DWI the blood alcohol concentration standard that they are held to is different.
That is because Louisiana has a zero tolerance law on its books. Pursuant to this law, individuals under the age of 21 are not subject to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) assessment of .08%, but rather to one of .02%. Therefore, young adults and teens may be found to be too intoxicated to drive even if their BAC levels are very low.
In Louisiana, the .08% for adults of legal drinking age and .02% for those below it are per se limits. This means that individuals who fall above these thresholds do not have to appear or act drunk to be arrested. Even if a person is able to function and move on their own power, they may be arrested for DWI if their BAC exceeds the applicable limit.
Drunk driving charges like DWI can be particularly devastating for young people who have their whole lives ahead of them. Parents can help their kids by working with them to find legal resources and advisors who understand and work within the realm of DWI and criminal defense law. Not all defense strategies will work for all individuals, and as such individual legal support should be sought by those with pending DWI charges. This post provides information only and should not be read as legal advice.