Underage or Provisional DWI/DUI
In North Carolina if you are under the age of 21 and are caught operating a motor vehicle on a public street or highway with ANY alcohol in your system, you can be convicted of a Provisional DWI/DUI. The North Carolina General Statutes state in §20-138.3 that “It is unlawful for a person less than 21 years old to drive a motor vehicle on a public highway or public vehicular area at any time while he has remaining in his body any alcohol or controlled substance previously consumed.”
It is important to note that a person under the age of 21 may still be convicted for Driving While Impaired under N.C.G.S. §20-138.1. Your consumption typically determines with what you are charged. For example, if your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is less than .08, you can only be charged with a Provisional DWI/DUI (baby DWI, Underage DWI, Underage Consuming and Driving); but if you have a BAC of .08 or greater you MAY be charged with either a Provisional DWI or a DWI under N.C.G.S. §20-138.1. It is within the arresting officer’s discretion to charge you as he decides. The only functional difference is that a minor will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege if convicted under §138.1 but may, in the judge’s discretion, receive a Limited Driving Privilege if he is convicted under 138.3. The fines and punishments are also much more severe for a “regular DWI” as opposed to a provisional DWI.
Conviction under N.C.G.S. §138.3 is a Class 2 Misdemeanor and is not subject to the special sentencing structure for Driving While Impaired as defined in N.C.G.S. §138.1 and §20-179