Missouri DWI Laws if You are Under 21

If you are under 21 and have been pulled over for a DWI, your case will be handled differently than if you were over the legal drinking age. First, the legal limit for someone under the age of 21 is not .08, instead it is .02. The lowered legal limit of 0.02 is referred to as zero tolerance, and it reflects the law that it is not legal for people under 21 to drink at all.

Driver’s License Suspensions

Similar to people over 21, if you are under 21 and arrested for a DWI you will be facing a driver’s license suspension. The suspension is termed a Zero Tolerance Suspension if you took the breath test and the result was over a .02. A Zero Tolerance Suspension is a 90 day suspension. If you refused the breath test, then you are facing a one year suspension of your driving privileges, the same as if you were over 21 and refused the breath test. Whether you took the breath test or refused, it is important to hire a DWI lawyer to fight the pending suspension.
Even though the police officer gave you only a 15 day temporary driving permit, an experienced DWI lawyer should be able to delay most driver’s license suspensions until after a full hearing to determine if your license should be suspended at all. There are many technical issues in drunk driving cases that a good attorney can use to fight the case and any driver’s license suspension. It is important to fight any possible suspension of your driver’s license.

Possession by Consumption

A common issue that arises in the St. Louis area when someone under 21 has been arrested for DWI is that the police officer will also issue that person a citation for Minor in Possession of Alcohol. Many times this can be confusing because there was no alcohol in the vehicle. The law in Missouri allows for the prosecution of a Minor in Possession of Alcohol through a theory known as “Possession by Consumption.” Boiled down it means if you are under 21 and you are drunk then you have alcohol in your system and you can be found guilty of a Minor in Possession of Alcohol. Although not all police officers issue this additional citation after a DWI arrest, it has been a growing trend around the St. Louis area recently.

Protect Your Rights


If you are under 21 and have been arrested for a DWI, it is important to consult with an experienced DWI attorney. There are many legal issues that could have affect your case and your driving privileges. Contact The Law Office of Jason A. Korner at314-227-1949 to schedule a free consultation about your DWI arrest.