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Vanessas law - underage drinking and driving in Minnesota

  Vanessa's Law - Minnesota's Underage Drinking and Driving Laws
Not a Drop Law.

Minnesota Statute section 169A.33 states: “It is a crime for a person under the age of 21 years to drive, operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while consuming alcoholic beverages, or after having consumed alcoholic beverages while there is physical evidence of the consumption present in the person’s body.”

This means that if the driver is under 21, it is a crime to drive after consuming any alcohol. There does not have to be proof that the driver was actually under the influence of alcohol or that his alcohol level was over 0.10%. Accordingly, this law is sometimes known as the “Not a Drop” law or the “Zero Tolerance” law. A first offense is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

Additionally, significant license revocations are possible. If the underage drinker has a regular license, and they are observed by an officer operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming any alcohol, they can lose their license for 30 to 180 days. The length of suspension will depend on the driver’s prior record. If the driver has only a provisional license or is unlicensed, the revocation may be even greater based on Vanessa's law.

In May 2004, a law went into effect referred to as “Vanessa’s Law” in memory of Vanessa Weiss, who was killed in May 2003 just days before her 16th birthday. She was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an unlicensed 15-year-old. Provisions of this law apply to drivers under age 18.

  • An unlicensed teen who received a crash-related moving violation or an alcohol/controlled substance-related violation (a violation of one or more statutes, including DWI, Implied Consent, Open Bottle, or Underage Drinking and Driving/Not a Drop Law) cannot be given a license, including an instruction permit or provisional license, until age 18. When this person turns 18, s/he must pass the driver’s license knowledge test, obtain an instruction permit and hold it for at least six months, and then pass the road test.
  • A provisional license holder whose driving privilege was revoked due to a crash-related moving violation or an alcohol/controlled substance-related violation cannot regain a license until age 18. At that time, the person must complete the following steps to obtain a full driver’s license:
    • Fulfill all reinstatement requirements, including the payment of fees which can be up to $680 depending on circumstances;
    • Complete the classroom portion of a formal driver education course;
    • Pass the driver’s license knowledge test;
    • Obtain an instruction permit and hold it for three months;
    • Complete a driver’s behind-the-wheel class.
       
       

         

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ADDITIONAL ARTICLES

How breathalyzers work.
An explanation of the theory and operation of breath testing devices.

Alcohol Intoxication Testing.
Overview of current state of "scientific" testing

Introduction to Forensic Toxicology.
An article exploring the science of analyzing poisons including blood-alcohol analysis.

The Response of the Intoxilyzer 5000 to five interfering substances.
Certain substances can affect the accuracy of a breath test.

Mouth Alcohol and Intoxylizer Inaccuracy
Breath Testing and contaminated results.

Breath Testing Machines.
Common methods of breath analysis..

BOOKS

Challenging the Breath Test at Trial

4 Ways to Get a New Drivers License

Drunk driving defense : how to beat the Rap.

Drunk Driving : A Survival Guide for Motorists

Drunk driving laws : rules of the road...






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