Zero-tolerance laws in Massachusetts have stiff penalties

Drunk driving laws in Massachusetts and across the nation are different for those who are under the age of 21, the legal drinking age. When people under 21-years-old are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving with alcohol in their systems, those individuals could be charged with DUI even if their blood alcohol content level is under 0.08 percent. These laws are known as "zero tolerance" laws.

Under Massachusetts's zero-tolerance laws, if a person under age 21 has a blood alcohol content level of 0.02 percent or above, that person will be charged with underage drunk driving. This means that even a single bottle of beer or glass of wine could lead to drunk driving charges, even if the person isn't intoxicated.

There are serious consequences for breaking Massachusetts's zero-tolerance laws. If a person is between the ages of 18 to 20, and it is a first-time violation of the zero-tolerance law, that person will face a 180-day license suspension. Those under 18-years-old will face a one-year license suspension. In addition, those who violate Massachusetts' zero-tolerance law could be subject to up to $5,000 in fines, a jail sentence of two-and-a-half years and they could be ordered to participate in a Youth Alcohol Program.

As you can see, the consequences for underage DUI can be very serious. Without a driver's license, Massachusetts residents may have a hard time getting to work or school. Even simple tasks such as going grocery shopping are made more difficult without the ability to drive. Therefore, those who are facing the possible suspension of a driver's license may want to get more information about criminal defense options to see what can be done to avoid such penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Under 21 Laws by State," accessed Jan. 24, 2017

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