Raleigh DWI Attorney Discusses the Charge of “Driving After Consuming”
You’ve heard of driving
under the influence and driving while impaired – but if you're under the age of
21 you may find yourself in need of a DWI attorney to handle DACs?
Driving After Consuming
(DAC) is a serious offense in North Carolina, separate from Driving While
Impaired (DWI). It made the headlines recently when an 18-year-old boy crashed his vehicle into a
power pole in east
Charlotte, taking down traffic lights and shutting down the road. The teenager,
whose injuries were not life-threatening, was charged with DAC, a misdemeanor
applying to persons younger than 21.
As is outlined in North Carolina General
“It is unlawful for a
person less than 21 years old to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or public
vehicular area while consuming alcohol or at any time while he has remaining in
his body any alcohol or controlled substance previously consumed.”
Because minors are
involved in DACs, there are a few other unique points in its provisions. For
example, the minimum of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC), which qualifies an
adult as legally impaired, simply does not apply. The statute is very strict,
having a BAC as little 0.01 is enough for an underage driver to be cited.
However, a law enforcement
official is not permitted to charge a
person with DAC even if alcohol is smelled on that person’s breath. Odor is
considered insufficient grounds for proving that alcohol remains in the
driver’s body after consumption.
There is one more
important element added to the definition of a DAC:
“A person less than 21
years old does not violate this section if he drives with a controlled
substance in his body which was lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically
Instances that meet this
provision include drinking wine in a religious ceremony, consuming alcohol as
part of medical treatment, or as part of lessons in culinary school, for example.
An individual charged with DAC can spend
up to 60 days in jail.
If North Carolina’s
underage drunk driving laws are very strict, that’s because the state treats
underage drinking – and underage drunk driving – rather seriously. Drivers
under 21 account for 14% of fatalities related to drunk driving, and the state
aims to improve both these numbers and public safety. As a result, many
district attorneys hit offenders hard during prosecution and tend not to negotiate
or offer to reduce charges, no matter how young the defendant or limiting the
you, your child, or a minor you know is charged with DAC, make sure you contact
an experienced DWI attorney who can rise to the challenge of the prosecution.
With our experience handling similarly serious cases, a DWI attorney with Kurtz
& Blum can help you obtain the best possible outcome.
Teen crashes into power
pole, shut down Albemarle Road, WCNC.com
North Carolina: Underage
North Carolina General Statute 20-138.3,