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Underage Drinking Charges in Tennessee

 Posted on January 21,2024 in DUI/DWI/BUI

TN defense lawyerAs parents, we hope that our children will make informed decisions. That includes following the law.

Many people know that the legal blood alcohol content limit for adult motorists is 0.08%, but you may not realize that the legal limit is lower for underage motorists, being at just 0.02%.

A Tennessee defense lawyer can explain the penalties for underage drinking and the rules established by the University of Tennessee for minors who possess or consume alcohol.

Underage Alcohol Possession

Tennessee law details the penalties for minors in possession of alcohol:

  • First offense: License suspension for one year, or until the person turns 17 years old (whichever is longer)
  • After 90 days, the individual may apply to the court for early withdrawal or suspension
  • Second offense: License suspension for two years, or until the person turns 18 years old (whichever is longer)
  • The court may issue a restricted license for the first offense
  • For a second offense, mandatory license suspension for one year before being eligible for a restricted license

If you are a minor caught drinking, your license will be taken away, even if you were not driving under the influence. License revocation is only one aspect of a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge. A skilled Knoxville underage DWI lawyer will be able to help you navigate the legal process.

Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor

We have already discussed the legal implications for minors in possession of alcohol. Tennessee also has laws for anyone under the age of 21 purchasing alcohol.

Even attempting to purchase alcohol can result in underage charges. Matters are only worse if the teen presents false identification in his or her attempt. If convicted, the minor will have a criminal record that will affect any future endeavors.

Underage Driving While Impaired

If an individual is between the ages of 16-20 and inebriated while driving, the following consequences may apply:

  • License Revocation for one year/No opportunity for a restricted license
  • $250 fine
  • The court may impose public service work
  • Underage Driver could face the same charges as legal age drivers: First conviction could result in 11 months and 29 days in prison, a fine up to $1,500, and license revocation for one year

University of Tennessee Alcohol Policy

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Campus, lays out specific procedures for the serving and consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is restricted for all student organization gatherings but is allowed for certain campus functions.

Students under the age of 21 are prohibited from serving, possessing, or consuming any alcoholic beverages. If you violate the law, the University is clear that you are not impervious to the rules, and a police officer may arrest you. Students who are arrested on campus must be notified of their rights and retain the right to remain silent.

A Dedicated Knoxville, TN, Underage DWI Lawyer 

We know that you do everything in your power to keep your child out of harm’s way. Not every situation can be avoided. That is where the assistance of a Knox County, TN, underage DWI lawyer cannot be underestimated. Contact Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by calling 865-281-1000 to schedule your free consultation.

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