You may be surprised to find out that 10% of licensed drivers are under 21, but are responsible for 17% of fatal accidents involving alcohol. If you are a teenager who just got their license, you may be out looking for fun and adventure – however, this is the worst way to do so and the most likely way to not only lose your life, but also take the life of another. Underage drinkers, as you may already know, have a tendency to binge drink, which may mean that things get out of hand quite quickly. Another reason why these accidents are typically fatal is because teen drivers are more likely to drive recklessly and fail to wear their seatbelt.
For those under 21 who have driven under the influence of alcohol, even the detection of a minimal amount of alcohol is enough to lead to very serious penalties. Here are some of the most common penalties that a driver may face if they have been caught driving drunk while underage:
- Suspension of the driver’s license from 30 days to age 21, or even more
- Impoundment of vehicle
- Possible jail time overnight or for several years if this was a second, third or so-forth offense
- Community service to run alongside jail time
- Attendance at DUI school
- Fine of a couple thousand dollars
- Probation extending from three to five years
- Juvenile detention
If you are a teenager and have been pulled over for underage DUI, your BAC will be tested immediately to determine if you will be charged with the crime. The BAC of victims of intoxicated underage car accidents is usually five times the legal limit. In California, anyone who is under 21 years of age and operates a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher can be cited on-the-spot for a DUI. Some states are less forgiving and will disallow anything over a 0%. However, you should note that you may not only suffer from the listed penalties. No, you could sustain even worse penalties depending on your circumstances. Depending on the situation, you could also be charged with the following:
- Distributing alcohol to minors if there were drunk, underage passengers
- Minor in possession
- Soliciting Alcohol
- Child endangerment law violations
- Possession of false identification in the event of a Fake ID
- Moving and vehicle maintenance violations
If you were driving drunk and are underage, you could also see a serious change in your insurance. In fact, some insurance companies will work especially harshly and terminate a policy after an underage DUI. However, most companies will typically raise the premium a couple hundred dollars because of a “higher risk policy.” This will probably stay in place for a couple of years and you will have to talk to the DMV about a reinstatement form depending on the case.
If you have been caught driving drunk while underage, you may have questions. You may feel like this crime will affect you for the rest of your life, but that may not be the case – in many cases, there is hope. Call us today to find out what steps you can take to fight your case and win. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we care about you and your outcome.