Underage Breathalyzer Test

Underage Breathalyzer Test

You may already know that, when it comes to drinking and driving, the legal amount of alcohol you can have in your system is 0.08%—a percentage known as blood alcohol content, or BAC. But what you may not realize is that the 0.08% limit only applies to drivers who are legally allowed to consume alcohol. In other words, if you are under 21, lawmakers expect you to comply with a much lower BAC limit. Therefore, if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI), you can expect to be asked to perform an underage breathalyzer test.

What To Expect During A Breathalyzer Test

To perform a breathalyzer test, you must blow into a tube-like device that is designed to measure the amount of alcohol found in your breath sample, and then convert it into a percentage. If the test indicates you have an illegal amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, you can expect to be arrested and charged with DUI.

Although every state enforces the federal 0.08% limit, it is ultimately up to state lawmakers to determine what constitutes an illegal blood alcohol content for underage drivers. In most jurisdictions, the legal BAC limit for underage drivers is 0.02%; however, many states have passed zero tolerance laws to make it illegal for minors to operate a vehicle with a BAC above 0.00%. Essentially, this means that a driver can be charged with underage DUI for having even a small amount of alcohol in his or her system.

Underage Offenders Are Subject To Severe Penalties

Unfortunately, despite being subjected to much lower BAC limits, underage drivers face the same—or even harsher—penalties for drunk driving as any other offender. Depending on the state, and underage DUI conviction could carry a large fine, license suspension, or jail sentence. Given these consequences, it's easy to understand why so many drivers decide to obtain legal representation after their arrest.

Contrary to what you may think, there are many ways to challenge a breathalyzer test. In addition to the device’s known flaws, there are many personal factors that can affect a person's test results—including weight, sex, alcohol tolerance, metabolism, and medical history, just to name a few.