Driving under the influence (DUI) could lead to severe penalties. These consequences are more severe if the driver is under the age of 21, as legally they are not even allowed to drink alcohol. Everyone should rethink driving after consuming alcohol, however, if a driver under the age of 21 gets caught drinking and driving their future may be forever changed.
Many people know the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) while operating a motor vehicle is 0.08. If you are of legal age to drink alcohol and you get caught drinking and driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more, you are guilty of a DUI. However, this is not the limit for a driver under 21 years old. There is a zero tolerance law for anyone under 21, which means that if a driver shows even a 0.01 BAC, they will be charged with drunk driving.
If you have been charged with a DUI, the officials are not required to prove that your being under the influence affected your ability to drive. After you have been stopped while driving and have taken a breath test, you could face consequences solely on the results showing 0.01 or more. A typical penalty of being under 21 and receiving a DUI is the loss of your license for one year. If your BAC is below 0.05, it may not be considered a criminal DUI and therefore, you may not have to go to jail or have a DUI noted on your record.
If your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, you could not only lose your license for a year but also pay a hefty fine and be mandated to attend an alcohol education program. If this is not your first offense, you could also face your vehicle being impounded. Being charged with this level of BAC could also lead to having a DUI stay on your record.
Drivers under 21 who have a BAC of 0.08 or higher could potentially face criminal charges. When the BAC is 0.08 or higher, underage drivers are typically given the same consequences that the DUI law applies to adults. This could include jail times, thousands of dollars in fines, probation, and loss of license.
It is important to note that if you are driving unsafely with any amount of alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a higher penalty. Underage drivers who are driving dangerously or swerving because of alcohol could face a DUI charge with penalties that match someone with a BAC of 0.08 or more. Authorities are also able to file charges for more than one violation. If an underage driver is driving dangerously with a BAC of 0.06, they could face up to three different charges: driving with a BAC over 0.05, the zero tolerance law, and impaired driving.
Underage drivers found guilty of a DUI should seek help from a DUI lawyer. Employment applications and college admissions regularly ask about crimes and if you have a DUI on your record, you must provide the details of your case. Drinking and driving at any age is dangerous and can ruin your future. Consult with an experienced attorney people trust.