Underage And Driving Under The Influence


Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense regardless of the age of the perpetrator. If the offender is underage, however, both the standards and the punishments are different than for those age 21 and up. Read on to learn more about underage drinking and driving offenses.

Blood Alcohol Concentrations

Those who get stopped and tested for the presence of alcohol in their system that are age 21 and over must not demonstrate a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08%. If you are under the age of 21, the laws are more stringent. States vary when it comes to their policies on underage drinking and driving. Some "zero tolerance" states charge those with any alcohol at all in their systems while operating a vehicle with a crime. Other states are less strict and may only impose penalties at levels certain levels. It should be noted that the BAC level allowed in underage drivers is always lower than that of those 21 and over.

Standard DUI Charges for Underage Drinkers

In some instances, underage drivers who test positive for alcohol can be charged with a standard DUI. A standard DUI charge carries serious ramifications and the way states address this issue varies. In most cases, underage drivers who have BAC levels at or above .08% stand a chance of being charged with a standard DUI instead of an underage DUI. In a few states, prosecutors have the option to charge underage drivers with a standard DUI based on not just a high BAC but using a combination of that and having the appearance of being seriously impaired.

Penalties for an Underage DUI

While the punishments do vary by state, most states address this issue by taking some standard measures. The amount of the fines, time of license suspensions, and more can vary widely. States view this offense as either a misdemeanor or a criminal offense. In the states that classify this offense as a crime and not a misdemeanor, offenders under the age of 18 are often prosecuted through the juvenile justice system.

  • Jail time – For first-time offenders, the jail time is often a few days. Second-time or more offenders can incur jail time of six months up to a year or so.
  • Fines – Several thousand dollars in fines is to be expected.
  • Driver's license suspension – A few months up to a year for first-time offenders

There are a handful of states that do not prosecute an underage DUI offense as a crime but as a driving violation. That means that the offender won't face jail time but will face driver's license suspensions and fines. This is known as administrative prosecution and the punishments are meted out by the state's department of motor vehicles instead of the prosecutor's office.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an underage DUI, speak to a criminal defense attorney at once.


14 December 2018

take a lawyer to criminal court

Until marijuana is legalized in every state, there will be courtrooms filled with those who are deemed criminals for possessing and using it. If you have been charged with the possession and use of marijuana, you need an attorney. Having gone through this with my son, I know that the courts are not pleased with these charges and things don't always turn out well. This blog will show you several examples of what can happen if you go to court for criminal charges without having an attorney working on your side to protect your rights and reduce the consequences as much as possible.