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No tolerance for underage drinking and driving

In Tennessee and throughout the United States, it is against the law for anyone under 21 years of age to buy or possess alcohol. The purpose of the laws is to address the dangers of underage drinking.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 33 percent of the deaths of those between 15 and 20 are caused by a motor vehicle crash. In 35 percent of those crashes, alcohol consumption is a contributing factor. The association rate of alcohol for the younger drivers is also about twice the rate of that for drivers who are over the age of 21.

In 1995, the National Highway Systems Designation Act required that in order for states to qualify for Federal-Aid Highway Funds, they had to deem a 0.02 or higher percent blood-alcohol level for drivers under the age of 21 as driving under the influence. All states eventually complied.  For drivers 21 and over in Tennessee, having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more while driving qualifies as an offense of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Being convicted of drunk driving charges can have long-term ramifications. An attorney who practices criminal law may work to get the charges dismissed or negotiate for less severe penalties. The attorney may review police reports to ensure that blood testing and arrests were conducted properly. A lawyer could also engage in litigation during a trial to help protect the rights of the client.

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Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
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Chattanooga, TN 37402-2913

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