Teenagers sometimes exercise bad judgment and when that involves alcohol and driving, the consequences can be incredibly severe. Unlike adults, teens are often more willing to take risks and do not understand the powerful effect alcohol can have on them. A mistake like this, however, can have lasting ramifications. As a parent or guardian, it is your duty to guide and protect them during this time, and to ensure they understand the gravity of this charge.
Underage drivers are subject to many of the same penalties adult drivers are, though the standards they are held to are much higher. For adults, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08 is considered legally drunk. For individuals under 21, the limit is 0.02.
For first time offenders, a DUI conviction can result in:
- Imprisonment for up to 1 year, but no less than 10 days
- A fine between $300 and $1,000
- No less than 40 hours of community service
- Completion of Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction School
- Driver’s license suspended for up to 1 year
For subsequent offenses, an underage driver will suffer the same consequences as an adult.
Other Life-Altering Consequences
Penalties from the court are not the only things to be feared if your child is facing a DUI charge. A conviction can affect the young life of a teen for years to come and in ways that go beyond the legal system. This includes:
- College rejection: If a school asks about criminal history as part of the admissions process and find out your child was convicted for driving while intoxicated, your child might likely be rejected based on this information.
- Employment challenges: Employers also routinely inquire about one’s criminal record during the hiring process. A DUI might be reason enough to take a person out of the running for a job, especially if an equally qualified candidate without a marred history is up for the job as well.
- Financial hardship: A DUI costs and those expenses also extend beyond the fines and fees enforced by the court. Your teen’s insurance will go up and, if there was an accident, he or she might have to pay restitution or compensation to the other party.
Defending an Underage DUI
Seeking the skilled and experienced help of a DUI attorney is your next best step. The goal should be to keep this case from going to trial and trying to negotiate a lesser charge. Here are some of the tactics a more adept DUI attorney might employ:
- Know the prosecutor: Your attorney should have a working knowledge of the prosecutor and understand their perspective regarding DUI cases. While a prosecutor’s job is to convict criminals, they are also humans who know that kids make mistakes. Through heartfelt negotiations, your attorney might be able to get a prosecutor to reduce the charges to something less severe.
- Know the judge: Every judge will have his or her own unique views regarding DUIs. One might be more forgiving while another might be eager to teach a lesson. Your lawyer should be able to tailor an argument that suits any judge’s attitude.
- Overturn evidence: Testing devices are not perfect and if the case against your child relies on such evidence, your DUI attorney can request the data on the device or lab and, if any irregularities are present, the evidence might be excluded.
Low-Cost Georgia Juvenile Law Attorneys
If your child was recently arrested for a DUI, you will need to act quickly and work with a skilled Georgia criminal defense to protect the future of your child. At Justice Café, we understand that not everyone is able to afford quality representation, but this should not prevent them from having a tough defense on their side. That is why we provide affordable legal assistance to juvenile clients facing legal trouble.
In addition to handling underage alcohol offenses, our firm is also able to deal with cases involving runaways, delinquency, truancy, and underage drug offenses. Take the first and most important step in protecting your child and work with a law firm that truly cares about helping you achieve a positive outcome. Speaking with a qualified attorney is one of the smartest decisions you can make.
Contact the Justice Café today to request a case evaluation with one of our compassionate defense attorneys at (888) 817-6610. You and your child should not have to endure this difficult time alone.