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Minors face zero tolerance in Minnesota drunk driving cases

According to Minnesota law, a person will face charges for driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol concentration over 0.08 percent. This is a legal-limit standard that is easily recognizable in our state and across the country. However, people under the age of 21 (the legal drinking age) face a slightly different set of standards, which can vary from state to state.

Minnesota, unlike some other states, has a zero-tolerance policy for minor drivers. If a person under 21 years old is found to have any blood-alcohol concentration greater than 0.00 percent while driving, charges could be filed. Knowing this, consuming a very small amount of alcohol could result in very serious charges.

A headline-grabbing story addresses the concept of DUI laws for minors, at least in part. Not long ago, 19-year-old pop star Justin Bieber was arrested on suspicion of DUI, in addition allegations of drag racing and resisting arrest.

Bieber was arrested in Florida, which has slightly different laws than Minnesota. In that state, people younger than 21 face a legal limit of 0.02 percent. At this time, it's unclear what the singer's Breathalyzer test registered, but he is still facing charges. In this instance, police believe he may have also been under the influence of drugs, which is something that can also lead to criminal charges.

Although Bieber's case involves slightly different DUI laws than those in Minnesota, it provides an important reminder. Young people often face a lot pressure to fit in and consuming a single beer at a party could result in a DUI conviction, which could be very damaging for a teenager with a bright future.

Source: KSTP.com, "Pop Star Justin Bieber Exits Jail after DUI Arrest," Scott Theisen, Jan. 23, 2014

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