I Got An Underage DUI, What Happens Now?
I’m Under 21 and I Got A DUI. What Should I do?
Underage DUIs are serious matters. Because teens are not of legal age to consume alcohol, they can sometimes face even more penalties than adults who get DUIs. If you were charged for an underage DUI in California, in some cases, you can be liable for all the same criminal penalties as an adult.
Our advice: Don’t wait, call a criminal defense lawyer now. A lawyer will be able to help you through your case. Find an experienced DUI attorney who has won cases in the courtroom where your case is pending. It can be scary as a young kid to have to deal with a judge and the possibilities of major consequences. A lawyer will be able to walk you through courtroom procedures, consider your overall record, advocate for a reduced sentence, and have your best interest in mind.
Underage DUI Laws68% of 12th graders have tried alcohol at least once and 35% of high school students have had some amount of alcohol in the past month. With numbers like that, it is no surprise that teenagers are driving drunk and getting DUIs. It is illegal for someone under 21 years old to purchase, posses, or consume alcohol. This law is called zero tolerance. A small amount of alcohol in a teenager’s system makes it a criminal DUI offense. There are many statistics and studies that prove why teenagers shouldn’t drink, and the zero tolerance laws were made to support that evidence.
People ask, “What is the legal BAC for someone under 21?” There is not really one. Depending on the state, the BAC limit for minors may be .00%, .01%, or .02%. This makes it so that a minor who has one or even less than one drink could be convicted of a DUI. For example, in California the underage drinker’s blood alcohol content must be above .01% to be cited for a DUI.
PunishmentPunishment for someone who is of legal drinking age and gets arrested for drunk driving is strong, and so it is for minors who get caught driving under the influence before they are 21. Common consequences for someone who was driving under the influence and is not yet 21 include the following: License suspension (length of suspension varies but it is likely to be 6 months-2 years), jail time, DUI school, driving safety school, participation in an alcohol treatment program, community service, installation of an ignition lock, DUI on permanent record, and fines that will cost anywhere from $1000-3000.
Some of the long term effects of an underage DUI can be more damaging than the criminal penalty. When applying for colleges, they are able to ask about your criminal history on applications, and you have to disclose your DUI. Employers also often ask about criminal history. They are likely to choose someone without a criminal history if they have a choice. Another long term penalty is the insurance you have to pay. Some companies will cancel the policy after an underage DUI, but most of them raise the cost of the monthly premium by $100-200 and sometimes more. This raise in insurance usually remains for 3-5 years. That is likely to be $50,000 or more just in the increase of insurance.
Statistics of Teenage Drunk Driving
- Alcohol is the drug of choice for teens and the widespread nature of the problem is alarming:About 30 percent of eighth graders have tried alcohol.
- About half of all tenth graders drink.
- One in six teens binge drinks, but only one in 100 parents believe his or her child binge drinks.
- Teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year, more than all other drugs combined.
- Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of d runk driving crashes.
- Kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.
- 1 in 5 teen drivers involved in a fatal crash had alcohol in their system.
- In the past 30 days 22% of high schoolers rode with a driver who had been drinking.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of deaths for teens and about a quarter of those crashes involved an underage drinking driver.