Underage drinking is a crime that many states take seriously. However, underage drinking and driving is an even more serious offense. If you get an underage DUI charge, then the consequences could be severe. Learn about what happens when someone underage drinks, and why you should avoid it.
Are Underage DUIs Common?
Although it’s hard to find statistics on underage DUIs, one thing is for certain – they are common. When young people drink, they don’t hesitate to get behind the wheel of a car. In the US, about 17% of alcohol-involved fatal crashes involve underage drivers. This isn’t only true for the US. In the UK, underage drunk driving is also common. Every year, there are about 1,000 underage drunk driving convictions. Since 2008, the police have caught about five underage drunk drivers.
Some drunk driving cases are more extreme than others. For example, the youngest drunk driver in the UK was only 11-years-old. In 2011, the police caught the young boy. In both Scotland and Manchester, there were two incidents involving 12-year-old drunk drivers. With such an early start, the young boys seemed to be on a dangerous path.
Although most underage drunk drivers aren’t that young, the age range does vary. At any age, an underage DUI can come with hefty penalties.
In most cases, the offender is a late teen. For example, college towns tend to have problems with underage drunk driving. Youth tend to worry less about the consequences of their actions. Additionally, many teens feel invincible. When they drink, that feeling can strengthen. Drunk driving doesn’t seem like a dangerous decision.
Unfortunately, it is a dangerous decision. When teens drink, they tend to binge drink. This makes them more dangerous behind the wheel of a vehicle. It’s not uncommon for underage drunk driving to cause a serious car accident. When you drink and drive underage, you take a great risk.
The Penalties of an Underage DUI
If you are under the age of 21 and drive drunk, then you could get an underage DUI. However, standard DUI laws do not apply. Most states have stricter laws for underage drivers. Specifically, most states can issue you a DUI with a .02% BAC or higher. In other states, there is a zero-tolerance underage DUI policy. If the police find you driving with any alcohol in your system, then you could get a DUI.
Although the penalties also vary by state, the penalties are all similar. First, there are the fines. Most states require you to pay fines for your DUI. Those fines can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. In addition to fines, there are also legal fees and other fees. It’s also likely that you will have a license suspension. In most states, that suspension lasts for at least one year.
To prevent future DUIs, most states require you to attend a drug or alcohol class and a driver’s education course. They also might require months of community service. In more serious cases, you could end up with jail time and probation. Your penalties depend on your state’s laws, your situation, and your judge. Because your sentence is at a judge’s discretion, you can’t know what to expect. There are many factors that a judge considers when she decides on your penalties.
If your drinking and driving causes an accident, then the consequences are even harsher. When drinking and driving leads to a serious injury or death, jail time is likely. You also have to live with a lifetime of guilt.
The legal penalties for underage drunk driving are severe. However, there’s more to it than the legal consequences. For one, there are the consequences to your health. If you start drinking heavily at a young age, then you could have a lifetime of health issues. Frequent drinking does damage to your body. When you start young, that damage can be even more harmful.
If you find yourself in a DUI accident, then you also could have a lifetime of injuries to deal with. Often, accidents result in long-term injuries. Your accident could leave you with decades of back pain. Or, it could leave you in a wheelchair. In some cases, you might need on-going therapy. In any case, your underage DUI could cause an accident that has permanent consequences.
There’s also the issue of your future. While the legal consequences of your underage DUI affect your present, they endure throughout your life. When you’re older, you might find it difficult to get a job or house. If you have a conviction on your record, anyone can find out about it. Then, they can hold it against you. A DUI is not something that just disappears.
If you find yourself facing an underage DUI charge, then you need help. Don’t hesitate to contact RI Dui Guy. Of course, any drunk driving charge has the potential to ruin your life. Contact us immediately for help fighting any type of DUI.