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Underage DWI

Minnesota has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage DWI. There are a number of laws that are applicable to particular circumstance, largely based on the age of the offender.

Vanessa’s Law

Minnesota has a law on the books called Vanessa’s Law. It was named in memory of Vanessa Weiss, a 15-year-old who was killed in a single-car accident. Vanessa was a passenger in a vehicle that was being driven by an unlicensed and underage driver. Under Vanessa’s Law, an unlicensed driver, under the age of 18 who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cannot obtain a driver’s license until they turn 18.  Once the license is reinstated, it is an instructional permit only for at least six months.

Not a Drop Law

Minnesota law does not tolerate underage drinking and driving in any respect. If a person, under the age of 21, operates a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system, they will treated under the“not a drop” law. This is a Misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A conviction for this offense will result in a 30 day license revocation for a first offense, and 180 days for a subsequent offense.

Underage DWI/DUI (Alcohol Concentration .08 or More)

Under Minnesota law, a driver under the age of 21 who has an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater will face the same penalties as those who are over the age of 21. However, the corresponding driver’s license revocation will be for 180 days instead of 90.

Contact Attorney Carson J. Heefner

If your child has been accused of underage DWI, it’s important to seek the representation of an experienced and committed criminal defense attorney. Carson J. Heefner has over 20 years representing individuals charged with all levels of underage drinking and driving.  He is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense, which is an intensive training seminar for people who defend those accused of DWI/DUI. For a free consultation, contact Carson at 612-202-8971 or