How does Missouri's zero tolerance law affect minors?

As a Missouri resident, you have likely heard about the state government's "zero tolerance" policy for drinking and driving. There state's DWI laws cover several different charges, and there may be severe penalties if you drive while intoxicated or refuse to take a test for blood alcohol concentration. If you are under 21 years old, however, there are additional aspects of the zero tolerance policy that may affect you.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol provides detailed information about the state's DWI laws. If you are over age 21, you may receive a DWI charge if you have a BAC level of 0.08%, even without any other evidence of impairment. You may lose your license for a year if you have multiple DWI convictions over a certain period of time.

The threshold for DWI offenses is lower if you are a minor. If you are under 21 years old, you may lose your license for 30 days if you drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. In addition to losing your license, you may need to complete a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. In most cases, you may need to cover the cost of the program yourself. You may also incur other fees, including a reinstatement fee to get your license back.

As a minor, you may lose your license for longer if you get convicted of other DWI-related offenses. For example, driving with an open container of alcohol or a controlled substance may result in a 90-day license suspension. Repeated offenses may cause you to lose your license for one year.

This overview of Missouri's zero tolerance DWI policy is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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