Abstaining Designated Drivers Arrested if Under 21

Designated Drivers arrested? Really?

You’re a young 20-year-old adult who’s attending a gathering serving as Designated Driver. Designated Drivers agree not to drink alcohol and to drive others home.

               Overview

I.   Designated Driving Problem

II.  Justice?

III. Designated Driving                   is Important

IV.  Readings

You’re doing this for your friends who are drinking. Your friends are all 21 or older. (There are some attendees under 21.) Society should commend you for this behavior. Unfortunately, there are many abstaining Designated Drivers arrested if they’re under age 21.

I. Designated Driving Problem

You’re not having a single drop of alcohol and you’re a good role model as a Designated Driver. You’re being a responsible adult.

designated drivers arrested

However, police may arrest and charge you with a crime!!!

Surprisingly, laws in many states presume persons under the age of 21 to be guilty under such circumstances. That includes adults who are 18, 19 and 20. Therefore, police don’t need to test them for evidence of drinking. They may  may arrest them on charges of illegal drinking and/or possession of alcohol.

designated drivers arrestedThe innocent can face jail, fines, license suspension, and a permanent criminal record. This can prevent their entering many professions. That’s severe punishment for being a Designated Driver.

Police insist that it’s too much trouble to figure out who’s innocent and who’s guilty. And besides, they may not have enough alcohol breath testers. So they say they must arrest everyone.

II. Justice?

Unfortunately, the policy seems to violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It guarantees the right of assembly.

In addition, it seems to violate a fundamental principle of American justice. That is, that everyone is always assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Alternatively, it’s under dictatorships that people are assumed guilty and must prove their innocence. But that’s exactly what many innocent young adults are being forced to do right here in the U.S.

designated drivers arrestedFortunately, the false charge can sometimes be successfully challenged. That is, if the person rushes to a doctor to get a blood or urine test. That could prove that they didn’t drink any alcohol. But even this evidence may not be enough to prove their innocence. In some cases the evidence must come from a police-operated breath tester. Or the innocent young person may simply face charges possession rather than consumption.

Many establishments provide free non-alcoholic beverages to Designated Drivers.

Isn’t it better to let a guilty person go rather than convict an innocent one?

This seems to be a discriminatory civil rights issue. Unfortunately, it appears that the number of states with such unjust laws is increasing.

III. Designated Driving is Important

Designated Drivers help their friends and family in many ways. They help them

  • designated drivers arrestedPrevent needless injury or death.
  • Stay out of jail.
  • Keep their driving licenses
  • Avoid heavy fines.
  • Possibly lose their job.
  • Avoid great embarrassment

Designated drivers have probably saved over 100,000 lives. In addition, they’ve probably saved over 300,000 people from injury.

Now you know about abstaining designated drivers arrested if under 21 and around underage drinkers.

IV. Readings

Designated Driving helps legitimize a personal choice not to drink.

Tips for Using a Designated Driver

No heightened duty of care for ‘designated drivers’

Designated Drivers. Chicago: Temp. Serv., 2011.

Wall, S. The Designated Drivers’ Club. Cincinatti: F&W, 2013.