In order to reduce the number of underage motorists involved in alcohol-related crashes in Nevada, the state has passed “zero tolerance” laws that make it illegal for an underage driver to operate a vehicle after consuming even small amounts of alcohol. This zero tolerance law derives from a federal Zero Tolerance Bill, which was enacted to discourage intoxicated driving among minors.
In Nevada, it is illegal for minors under 21 years of age to drive in Nevada with a BAC of .02 or higher. If it is at least .02, but less than .08, they face a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Additionally, they also have to attend an alcohol assessment and treatment program. On the other hand, if it is at least .08, then they face the same criminal charges as adults.
Since the laws are zero tolerance, an underage motorist does not even have to exhibit any evidence of impaired driving. The simple fact that he or she has consumed alcohol, even in some small amount, is sufficient enough to support an underage DUI charge.
Children under 18 years of age who are arrested for misdemeanor-level DUI are often prosecuted in Juvenile Court. However, children under 18 arrested for a felony-level DUI in Nevada may be certified as an adult and prosecuted in criminal court. Adults ages 18 to 20 who are arrested for DUI are charged in criminal court.
Not only do underage DUI offenders face criminal penalties, it is worth noting that some schools and universities impose their own penalties for students and prospective students who get DUI convictions. These sanctions may include expulsion, suspension, or disqualification from applying.