Under 21 DWI Arrest

Drivers under the age of 21 that are found to be intoxicated with alcohol or drugs while driving a motor vehicle are subject to misdemeanor penalties, which include driver’s license suspension and fines. There is no tolerance by the state for a person under 21 to have any alcohol in their system at all. This means the standard law that states a person cannot have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08 does not apply.

If you have been charged with underage DWI or you are the parent of a child charged with DWI, then you need a DWI attorney Minneapolis based young drivers have turned to when they have been accused of DWI. The penalties, while they do not apply to any subsequent DWI charges, can be rather harsh and getting back a suspended driver’s license can be rather difficult.

Under 21 DWI Penalties


The DWI laws apply to drivers of all ages. A person has to have an illegal substance in their body at the time they are driving the motor vehicle. Although alcohol is not illegal, it is when a person is behind the wheel of a car. The main difference in the law between drivers under the age of 21 and those that are 21 and over is the BAC content. Additionally, there are certain factors that apply to underage drivers that do not apply to drivers over 21. Those are:

  • Drivers that are 16 or 17 years old and charged with DWI are tried as adults and not juveniles. This means that they are subject to the same penalties and consequences as adults. However, they cannot be sentenced to adult correctional facilities.
  • A driver under 21 cannot purchase alcohol, consume it without the permission and supervision of an adult, cannot possess alcohol if they intend to consume it, and cannot misrepresent their age in order to purchase alcohol.

Vanessa’s Law


Vanessa’s Law, named after 15-year-old Vanessa Weiss who was a passenger to a 15-year-old unlicensed driver, was killed in an accident. In 2004, the law went into effect and it states that anyone under the age of 18 and who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol must do the following:

  • Wait to obtain their license or permit until the age of 18
  • Pay up to $680 in fines before receiving their driver’s license
  • Pass a knowledge test before becoming a licensed driver
  • Complete a classroom driver education course
  • Hold their permit for at least 3 months before applying and testing for their license
  • Pay other penalties as deemed appropriate by the judge

Vanessa’s Law is to discourage teens from driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Minnesota has a Not a Drop Law for drivers under 21, which means there is no flexibility for these young individuals at all. So if charged with an under 21 DWI, it is very important to call upon a Minneapolis DWI attorney to help achieve the best outcome possible.

Contact A Minneapolis DWI Lawyer


If you have been charged with an under 21 DWI or you have a child who has been charged, you are most likely experiencing fear for the future and a lot of confusion. The step to take is to call the DWI Guys of Meaney & Patrin at 612-223-7409 and schedule a free consultation so that you can learn about what rights are available and what strategies can be used in the case so that you can put the charge behind you and move on with your life.