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Definition - What does Zero Tolerance mean?
What is zero tolerance?
Zero tolerance is a policy that applies to minors. Specifically, zero tolerance has to do with drinking and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For minors, drinking and driving laws are much more strict. While someone over the age of 21 is allowed to have a blood alcohol content of lower than .08 percent, a minor isn't authorized to have any alcohol in their system. Despite the fact of whether or not the person was impaired, zero tolerance laws say that any minor who has consumed drugs or alcohol is driving under the influence, and, therefore, driving illegally.
Why is zero tolerance a thing?
For some people, zero tolerance laws make total sense. Minors aren't old enough to purchase or consume alcohol legally. Therefore, they should not be driving after drinking alcohol. Even a simple glass of wine or a small amount of beer at a family gathering can be enough to get a minor in trouble for driving "under the influence" of alcohol. When people realize this, they may have second thoughts about whether or not zero tolerance should be a thing. The real answer lies within the reason that the law was created in the first place. Like most laws, zero tolerance wasn't designed to punish minors. Zero tolerance was created for the safety of the people the law applies to.
What are the consequences for a minor with alcohol or drugs in their system?
If a minor is pulled over or involved in an accident and it is discovered that they had consumed some substance, they could face more punishment than if they were to have simply broken a driving law. Most obviously, the person will have their license suspended for a year and sometimes even more. There is also a possibility of the vehicle being impounded. Other types of punishments may also be added onto this depending on the situation. For example, a minor may be charged with high fines that can be anywhere to a couple of hundred dollars anywhere up to a few thousand. On top of these fines, the minor will most likely be forced to attend a drivers education school that specializes in the dangers of drinking and driving. Additionally, a minor may be required to do community service. Besides this, the person may also be subject to jail time. Jail time can vary from state to state, considering that every state has different laws and punishments for driving under the influence and how zero tolerance laws apply to minors. Jail time can range anywhere from a full day of jail up to an entire year.
If a minor is caught drinking and driving, it could mean they will face severe consequences for their actions. In all cases, however, it is highly recommended that you immediately consult a professional DUI lawyer to understand the scope of the situation fully. The most important thing to take away from zero tolerance laws is in the name. If you plan on drinking, don't drive. This rule doesn't just apply to minors, but all people who drive.