In every state, regardless of how old an individual is a motorist can be convicted of a standard DUI for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But what if it’s someone underage, say, a child that is 12+ years old? No matter how old a child is, there is a zero-tolerance law in place that says it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to purchase and possess alcohol. This law is in place in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. So, if an individual Is under the age of 21 and gets caught with even a small amount of alcohol in their system, this will be approached as a criminal DU offense. With there being so many deaths by alcohol, it’s no wonder the government has these rules and regulations in place.
Back in the 1980’s, there was a huge spike in teenage drinking. As a result, many of these teenagers got into car accidents which left innocent people dead. Many of these teenagers also were sickened with alcohol poisoning, which was also costing the government tons of money to alleviate. Because of the seriousness of this epidemic, all states implemented the now famous “Zero Tolerance Law”. This law, however, has 2 components. The first component is Illegal per se laws; per se means in and of itself. This means that if a minor under 21 years of age is caught driving with a negligible percentage of alcohol in his or her blood, they will be arrested for a DUI immediately. The second component of the zero-tolerance laws is the administrative per se laws. This means that if the minor is caught driving with any level of alcohol in the system, their license will be automatically suspended or revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
Obviously, teenage drinking has many repercussions for the underage drinker and the public, but DUI offenses can also have long-lasting implications that can affect a young driver’s future.
Here is a list of penalties for underage DUI:
• Suspension of your driver’s license from 30 days to age 21, or one or more years
• Impoundment of your motor vehicle
• Possible jail time of one day to several years for multiple offenders
• Community service in lieu of jail time or after a short time served in jail
• Attendance at DUI school
• Fine of a few hundred to several thousand dollars
• Probation from three to five years
• Juvenile Detention
In addition to a DUI being a bad offense, causing any type of accident that results in bodily injury or death with a driver that is underage can trigger felony charges and civil penalties for underage DUI defendants. We know that the law varies from state to state, but the best thing you can do is always have a great DUI lawyer by your side to explain what your state’s laws are and to explore all of your legal options. Give us a call today for the best DUI representation in town. You’ll always be happy with our service – 100% guaranteed!
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