DUI, or driving under the influence- also referred to as driving while intoxicated is a very common but very serious offense, especially when it comes to underage drinking. The term DUI refers to operating a vehicle while extreme amounts of alcohol or drugs are present in your body. If you have charged with an underage DUI, for help click here.

In most states, anyone who is under the age of 21 and is caught behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher, can be charged with an underage DUI. Though the punishments vary by state, following are some of the typical guidelines:

  • Fines ranging from $100-$2,500
  • Impounding of the vehicle that is involved
  • Successful completion of drug/alcohol and driver education classes
  • 30 to 60 days of community service
  • Revocation of driver’s license for 3 months to 3 years
  • Payment of fees associated with punishments
  • Jail time from 2 days to 1 year
  • Probation for 3-5 years

Unlike adults who are charged with a DUI, those who are underage will face two consequences associated with the crime: DUI and underage drinking. If you don’t hire an experienced DUI attorney, it can be easy for the charges to compound, especially if someone was injured or property was damaged.

Some of the other charges that are commonly added to an underage DUI charge include the following:

  • Possession of alcohol as a minor
  • Solicitation of alcohol from an adult
  • Distribution of alcohol to minors- if there are underage passengers who are drunk
  • Child endangerment
  • Fake ID possession, if fake IDs are found
  • A variety of moving/vehicle violations at the officer’s discretion

The truth is that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among individuals between 15-20. There were over 7,000 deaths in this category in the year 2005. Some of the other statistics relating to underage DUI include the following:

  • Approximately 28% of those between the ages of 15-20 who died in vehicle accidents had been drinking
  • It seems that underage drinking is a much bigger problem for males (at a rate of 24% fatality) than it is for females (at a rate of 12% fatality)
  • When asked, more than 28% of teens across the nation admitted to riding in a vehicle with a driver who was under the influence at least one time
  • Teens who have been drinking are much less likely to wear their seatbelts- around 74% of teens involved in fatal car accidents were not using their seatbelt at the time

While it’s true that these stats get your attention- believe it or not, they are an improvement from the numbers in the past. Since the drinking age laws have been put in place, the NHTSA- or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration- has estimated that more than 24,000 lives have been saved. Still, we have a long way to go considering a survey conducted in 2005:

  • Around 41% of students admit to have consumed at least a few sips of alcohol before they reached 8th grade, with approximately 20% of 8th graders admitting to being drunk at least one time
  • Approximately 75% of high school seniors admit to have consumed more than a little bit of alcohol before graduation- with around 58% admitting to being drunk at least one time
  • Around 18% of teens- or over 7 million- admit to binge drinking and 6%- or over 2 million- admit to being heavy drinkers.

If you have been charged with an underage DUI, it is critical that you reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you understand the laws.

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