• Underage DWI



    If a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and under the age of 21, then possible misdemeanor penalties exist. These penalties include fines and driver’s license suspension. The state of Minnesota does not tolerate an underage individual driving with any alcohol in their system. This means that having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .08 will not help. An underage individual is to have no alcohol in their bloodstream at all.

    If you have been charged with underage DWI or you are the parent of a child that has been charged with DWI, you need a St. Paul criminal attorney to help you in your case. It is possible for the charges to be reduced or completely dismissed, depending upon any circumstances that were present during the time of the arrest.


    When Vanessa Weiss was killed in 2004 due to being in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by a 15-year-old unlicensed driver, Vanessa’s Law was introduced and it went into effect soon after.

    Vanessa’s law states that anyone under the age of 18 who is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is subject to the following penalties:

    Must wait until the age of 18 to obtain a driver’s license

    A driver’s license cannot be received until $680 in fines have been paid

    A knowledge test must be passed before obtaining a license

    A classroom driver education course must be successfully completed

    A driver’s permit must be held for 3 months before applying to take the driver’s license exam

    The judge may possibly impose other penalties as he or she deems appropriate

    The purpose of Vanessa’s law is to discourage teen drivers from driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Because of the “Not a Drop Law” in Minnesota, any driver under the age of 21 has no flexibility at all when it comes to alcohol in the bloodstream. So when charged with underage DWI, it is a must to talk to a St. Paul DWI Lawyer in order to receive assistance needed to achieve a favorable outcome.


    The DWI laws within Minnesota apply to all drivers regardless of age. In order to be charged with DWI, an individual must have ingested an illegal substance and be under the influence of that substance while driving a motor vehicle. While alcohol is not illegal, it is illegal for a person to drink it and then operate a car.

    Nonetheless, underage drivers arrested for DWI are subject to many of the same penalties that adult drivers are subject to. The primary difference is the fact that drivers under 21 cannot be found with alcohol or any other illegal substance within their system. The following are some additional factors that apply to underage drivers that don’t apply to adults:

    A driver under 21 cannot purchase alcohol legally, let alone consume alcohol without an adult present. While the penalties are much the same as adult offenders, minors cannot be sentenced to an adult jail or prison.

    16 year olds can be tried as adults, but they cannot serve within adult correctional facilities.


    If you have been charged with DWI or you are a parent of a minor under 21 who has been charged, the time is a difficult and confusing one. You fear for the future, which is understandable considering a DWI on a permanent record can make finding a job or a place to live difficult. In order to face these charges head on, you need a competent and experience attorney with knowledge of the law and the ability to develop strategies that could result in case dismissal or a reduction of the charges. Call St. Paul DWI Lawyer Charles Ramsay at the Ramsay Law Firm at 651-604-0000 or fill out the contact form to schedule your free consultation and learn about what can be done for you to ensure the best possible outcome.



    In May of 2004, Vanessa’s Law went into effect. It is a law that is named after Vanessa Weiss, who was killed exactly a year before the law was enacted and just a matter of days before her 16th birthday. She was a passenger driven by a 15-year-old. In Minnesota, a person cannot have a license at 15, so the driver was unlicensed. The law applies to drivers under the age of 18 and serves as a reminder to all underage drinkers that they are to not drink and drive. Underage drivers are to not have a drop of alcohol in their blood or they can be charged with underage DWI.

    If you are under the age of 21 or you are the parent of a child who is under the age of 18 and who has been charged with underage DWI, you can employ the service of a Minneapolis DWI lawyer at the Ramsey Law Firm, PLLC who can help you and your child receive the best result in the matter.


    There are a number of areas that Vanessa’s Law covers and it also specifies the penalties that an unlicensed minor driver or underage DWI offender should pay.

    If a teen is unlicensed and they commit a violation that is crash-related or alcohol or a controlled substance is involved in a violation, they cannot be granted a license, a provisional license, or a driving permit until the age of 18. When the offender turns 18, he or she must obtain their instruction permit and hold it for six months, take a driver’s license knowledge test, and pass the road exam.

    If a provisional license holder who has had revoked driving privileges due to a crash-related moving violation or a violation involving alcohol or a controlled substance cannot acquire their license until they are 18 years of age. In order to obtain their driver’s license, they must complete the following:

    Complete a classroom driver education course

    Fulfill the reinstatement requirements, such as the paying of $680 in fees

    Complete a behind-the-wheel driver’s class

    Obtain and hold their instruction permit for at least three months

    Pass the driver’s license knowledge test


    The Not a Drop Law can be complicated because it says that someone under the age of 21 should not have a single drop of alcohol in their system. There are some non-alcoholic substances that can alter the results of a breath or blood test, such as medications. This is an instance where you will need your Minneapolis DWI lawyer to help you navigate this law. If convicted of underage DWI under the Not a Drop Law, the driver’s license can be suspended for 30 to 180 days, depending on the circumstances.