Underage Drinking and Driving
Being convicted of a DUI will have serious consequences for anyone. However, an individual who is under 21 years of age at the time of their arrest will face more serious penalties if he or she is found guilty of a DUI. This is true even if he or she tests below the legal drinking limit.
The legal drinking limit does not apply to underage drivers.
When a driver who is 21 or older is suspected of drinking and driving and is asked to take a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer. Usually, a person will typically only be charged with a DUI if the test indicates that their blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. The legal limit is .08% BAC. However, a person can still be charged with a DUI if any amount of alcohol is present. But generally, a person over 21 who drives after imbibing a small amount of alcohol will often not be in violation of the law. The same does not hold true for drivers who are not old enough to legally consume alcohol. There is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. This means that a DUI can be issued to these drivers even if their BAC is .01%.
Consequences of underage drinking and driving
An underage driver convicted of a DUI will see harsher consequences than a driver who is over the age of 21. A first offense will result in a 3-month suspension of the driver’s license if that driver tested positive for a BAC over .00%. If the driver refuses to take a chemical test, the suspension rises to 6 months. In the event that the underage driver has a BAC over .08%, that driver will face the suspension of their driving privileges. A second infraction can lead to a 3-year suspension.
In addition to the loss of driving privileges, an underage driver can face up to a $2,500 fine, and one year in prison for a first DUI conviction.
Getting a DUI can severely impact a person’s life. If you were charged with a DUI while you were under 21, it is important to learn what possible defenses might be available to you, and what your best options are for fighting the charges. Attorney Michael J. Young works to protect the rights of people charged with DUI’s and other crimes. Contact us today at 708-410-0090 for a free consultation.