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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Licensed to Practice Law
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my 17 yr old son just got off a bus that was stopped and he

Customer Question

my 17 yr old son just got off a bus that was stopped and he blew a .02 for alcohol. I thought this was the legal limit. They were letting kids go that blew under a .02 can you help explain. We live in GA
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is TJ, and I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

There is no legal limit for kids under 21 to drink alcohol. It is illegal for a 17 year old to drink. To clarify your question, are you asking why your son who blew a .02 did not get off considering kids who blew less (e.g., .01) did get off? If so, then it's just the discretion of the police officer. Unfortunately, it is never a defense to a crime to argue that the police let other people go. That argument doesn't have anything to do with one's own illegal conduct.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. But does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Why does it say in everything you look up that the legal limit for a minor under the influence is .02. I asked the police officer why he was letting some kids go and he said they were under .02 but everything I can find in print says the legal limit is ..02 not under .02


 

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Why does it say in everything you look up that the legal limit for a minor under the influence is .02. I asked the police officer why he was letting some kids go and he said they were under .02 but everything I can find in print says the legal limit is ..02 not under .02

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Hello again.

You're mixing up two different laws.

There is a law which prohibits any person under 21 from possessing alcohol (consumption is considered a type of possession).

There is a different law which states that any person under the age of 21 is considered to be driving under the influence if he is driving with a BAC of .02.

My impression from your question is that your son was not given a ticket for DUI, but rather was given a ticket for consuming alcohol as a minor. If so, then the DUI law stated above is irrelevant. As for why the police let other kids go, it is within their discretion. They are not required to give every single offender a ticket. They have the option to pick and choose (so long as it's not based upon illegal factors, such as race, gender, etc.). Think about a speeding ticket as an analogy. The police have no obligation to pull over every single speeder. They may opt to only pull over people going 15 mph or greater over the speed limit. It is no defense to argue that people going 10 mph over were not given tickets. Does that make sense?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

not really because when I asked him why he let other go he said the limit was .02 and they were under. If the legal limit is .02 why didnt he let mine go.


 

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Hello again.

Ignore what the police told you about the legal limit. They apparently only have a cursory understanding of the law themselves. It sounds like you're thinking that a minor is allowed to drink alcohol so long as his BAC is .02 or less. That is not true. It is illegal for a minor to consume any amount of alcohol. The .02 limit merely applies to DUIs. Based on what you wrote, that doesn't apply in your son's case. Your son was caught with alcohol in his system, so he is guilty of illegally consuming alcohol.

As for why the police let others go, and not your son: It's because the police have the discretion to give tickets to some people and not others. The police are not required to give every offender a ticket. When handing out tickets, they can decide to target people with .02 BAC and greater. Just like the police can target speeders going 11mph and over, while letting other speeders go.

Does that help clarify?

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