Twenty-eight percent of all 15-20 year olds who die in a car accident were drinking. Every state has a “zero tolerance” statute which makes it illegal for people under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system.
Zero Tolerance for underage drinking
While each state’s DUI law varies on its zero tolerance classification, most states have set the “designated concentration” at .02%. This is less than one beer for the average teenager. Some states have set the cut-off at .00% and any adolescent driver with a trace of alcohol in their system is automatically in violation of the underage DUI law.
Penalties for DUI
If a juvenile is arrested for DUI they are also charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, and the punishment is different than that of an adult charged with DUI.
Some states will issue an automatic suspension of the minor’s license. Some states will revoke the license for a period of time varying from ninety-days to three years. The judge may also order the minor to attend an alcohol and driving education class.
Additionally, the minor’s car may be impounded. Other DUI penalties include performing community service, paying fees associated with any damages, and/or fines ranging from $100 to $2,000. In some cases, the juvenile may spend two days to one year in jail. Probation may also be required.
In addition to DUI penalties handed down by the court, a juvenile may face other consequences. A young driver is already subject to increased insurance rates due to their high risk status. After a DUI conviction, an insurance provider may raise the driver’s rates much higher or drop them altogether. Without insurance coverage, the young person would not be able to legally operate a vehicle.
If the juvenile driver is later convicted of additional underage DUIs, the DUI penalties involved will be more severe. Underage drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test at the scene may also have to deal with harsher DUI penalties.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
The complexity of juvenile DUI laws and penalties vary from state to state. The best way to navigate the courts and determine what the best course of action for you and your family is to consult with an experienced DUI attorney in your state.
DUI lawyers can review your DUI case and determine your next step. Most importantly, a DUI attorney can develop the most effective legal defense strategy available for you minor child.
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