The Law Offices of Ossie Brown
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Those under 21 must understand zero tolerance laws

You've probably heard repeatedly that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08 and that you can get a DUI if you take a breath test and it shows that your BAC is higher.

This is true, but it's critical for young drivers to know that states with zero tolerance laws, like Louisiana, don't use this standard for everyone. You can get a driver's license at 16 years old, but you can't drink legally until you're 21 years old. If you're pulled over for drunk driving while you're under 21, the zero tolerance laws kick in. The .08 limit is not for you.

That said, zero tolerance is a bit of a misleading name for these laws. It implies that you can't have any alcohol in your system, when the reality in Louisiana is that it lowers the limit to .02. That's quite low, though, so even having one drink is potentially enough to put you well over the limit and net DUI charges, even though you could still be significantly under .08.

It's also important for parents to understand these laws. Experts note that just sitting down to dinner and having a glass of wine could put a teen driver over the limit. Some parents may be tempted to allow this behavior, noting that it's done in other countries and that the teen isn't drinking excessively. However, under current DUI laws, even that one glass of wine could have serious ramifications.

If you're facing charges at any age, it's important to know all of your legal options. That starts with understanding the laws, and it's important for everyone to get a fair trial. For those who want to learn more, our website can answer many common questions.

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The Law Offices of Ossie Brown
123 Saint Ferdinand Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone: 225-424-7388
Fax: 225-334-7824
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