When a driver who is underage for drinking then drinks and drives, that driver will end up with more than just the ticket and the DWI on the driving record. Also, there are different penalties in each state which deal with underage drinking and driving. In most of the states if the underaged driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher, he or she can be charged with a DUI. In some states; however, there is a zero tolerance level which means no amount of alcohol is tolerated in the system of an underage driver.
There are also other penalties involved besides the DUI in most states. The underage driver can be charged up to $2,500 in fines as well as losing his or her license. Too, there can be a three to five years of probation on top of the fine and license suspension. Also, the court may decide to send the driver to a driver’s education program or an alcohol rehabilitation program; plus there could be 60-90 days of compulsory community service and up to one year in jail.
If all this isn’t serious enough, the driver can also face other charges such as alcohol possession by a minor. Another charge could be soliciting alcohol from an adult which will also have the adult who gave the alcohol to the underage minor arrested. If the friends in the car were also underage and had been drinking, then the driver can be charged with even more. Child Endangerment Laws could have been violated if the underage driver gave alcohol to the other minors too. Then the driver could be charged with distributing alcohol to a minor. Plus; if the driver had a fake ID that the arresting officer found, charges could be forthcoming for that too.
By having a DUI on record, it can remain on the driver’s driving or criminal record for life. This in turn can have an adverse effect on employment, acquiring housing, education, student loans and with having to pay higher insurance rates for years.
For underage drivers to have more limited consequences, they need to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. A criminal law attorney can help to possibly get the sentence reduced or possibly even have the case dismissed for the driver.