The Legal Process
Thousands of teenagers die yearly in drunk driving accidents. Many of these drivers are minors who are not even old enough to drink. For the most part minors are inexperienced with alcohol and take higher risks and exercise bad judgement when drinking. These drivers are a danger to themselves and the rest of society when they step behind the wheel of a car. That is why in most cases, the laws for minors when they are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) are very severe.
Many parts of the country have enacted zero tolerance laws for minors charged with drunk driving, as a skilled DUI attorney DC relies on might explain. If you are a minor and you are caught driving with alcohol in your system, you will likely be charged with DUI even if you are not considered drunk. Due to the administrative per se laws, if a minor is caught driving with alcohol in their system, their license will be suspended or revoked by their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Consequences For DUI Convictions
Minors who are convicted of DUI often face harsher penalties for first time offenses due to being charged with both driving under the influence, as well as underage drinking. If the minor has a blood alcohol content level between 0.05-0.07 percent or above they will likely be charged with an underage DUI, as well as an adult DUI. This combination increases the severity of the penalty.
Possible Additional Charges
There are a number of other charges that could be added to the DUI offense including:
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Soliciting alcohol from an adult
- Possession of a fictitious ID card.
The minor’s DUI could be classified as a class one misdemeanor, which will stay on their record as they enter adulthood. The court may also mandate that the minor perform community service as part of their punishment, as well as pay thousands of dollars in fines. The minor may lose their license for a year or two, and may have to submit proof of financial responsibility before they can have their license reinstated.
Minors who have been caught driving drunk more than once or been involved in multiple accidents will likely receive a jail sentence. The jail sentence depends on the severity of the charges. Besides probation, the court may order the minor to fulfill any or all of the following requirements:
- Go through a diversion program
- Attend alcohol education classes
- Enter an inpatient alcohol treatment program
- Have an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle, so that the court will be able to monitor the driving of the minor
- In some severe cases, the vehicle may be impounded
Minors can apply for a hardship or conditional license if they need their vehicle to commute to work or school.
Minors who are convicted of DUI have to disclose that on all college applications which can seriously limit their chances of getting accepted to most schools. Failure to list the DUI on the application could lead to an automatic dismissal if the school eventually finds out about the conviction.
In addition, students who have a DUI conviction on their record may not be able to continue their majors, such as education. The DUI conviction could also be a potential hindrance in regards to gaining employment in certain fields such as education or healthcare.
Remember that minors are still innocent until proven guilty, that the prosecutor must prove that the minor was driving, and that there was a serious reason for the minor’s vehicle to be stopped.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Frederick J. Brynn P.C. for their insight into DUI and criminal law cases.