Driving After Consuming Under 21: A Zero-Tolerance Offense

North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in his/her system.  Driving After Consuming Under 21, also called a “baby DWI” or “provisional DWI,” is a serious charge that can result in significant criminal and DMV consequences.

N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3 makes it unlawful for a person less than 21 years of age

(1)    to drive a motor vehicle

(2)    on a highway or public vehicular area

(3)    while the person

(a)    is consuming alcohol,

(b)   has any alcohol remaining in his or her body, or

(c)    has any controlled substance remaining in his or body.

It is important to note that if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 or the officer finds other evidence of impairment, you may also be charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI), which has much harsher criminal and DMV consequences.

Driving After Consuming Under 21 is a Class 2 misdemeanor, meaning a judge could impose a substantial fine, probation, and/or jail time.  Furthermore, a conviction under N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3 results in a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension.  A limited driving privilege may be available during the one year suspension period for drivers who were at least 18 years old at the time of the offense and meet other eligibility requirements.  

In Wake County, some judges offer an opportunity to “earn” a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) following a Driving After Consuming Under 21 conviction by requiring completion of community service hours and/or substance abuse treatment, for example.  If a PJC is granted, then the judge will not impose any fine, probation, or jail time, and no license suspension will result from the conviction.  Therefore, it’s imperative to have an experienced attorney who can help you achieve the most favorable result possible in your case. 

If you have been charged with Driving After Consuming Under 21 or DWI in the Wake County, call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC at 919-585-1486 for a free consultation with our experienced Raleigh DWI lawyers.


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.