Driving After Consuming

Driving After Consuming While Under Age 21 in North Carolina

In North Carolina, it is illegal for a person under age 21 to drive with any amount of alcohol in the system. This offense applies to drivers that are under the age of 21 at the time of the offense. This offense is different from DWI. A person could be charged with DWI in addition to driving after consuming while under 21.

A person is guilty of this offense if they drive a motor vehicle on a public road: a) while the person is consuming alcohol; b) while the person has alcohol in their system; or c) while the person has a controlled substance in their system. Note that any amount of alcohol in the system is sufficient. Note that prescription medications will not trigger this charge, if used in therapeutic doses and prescribed to the driver.


This is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of 60 days in jail. In addition, if convicted of driving while consuming while under 21, a person’s NC driver’s license will be suspended for one year. A driver that is convicted of this offense may be able to get a limited driving privilege. A limited driving privilege may be available for drivers that 1) are 18, 19, or 20 years old at the time of the offense; and 2) have not been previously convicted of this offense.

If you have been charged with driving after consuming while under age 21, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

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