Underage Drinking and DUI

Posted by Joseph Franks on January 10th, 2020

Teenagers commit the majority of DUI crimes in the U.S. The offenders below the age of 16 are charged with two crimes at once, since they are below the legal age of drinking and driving. Teenage drunk driving is subject to zero tolerance laws, and the consequences are harsher as compared to adult drunk driving.

The theory behind the ‘zero tolerance law’ policy is the lack of experience with drinking and driving among teenagers. They put themselves and the public at higher risk because of their carelessness and recklessness. The strict rules were enacted in the 1980s when injuries and deaths caused by drunk teen drivers had gotten out of control.

A minor under the age of 21 will be arrested for DUI crime even if their blood alcohol level is negligible. Adults are charged if their blood alcohol level is 0.08% or above, but the underage will get into trouble if the percentage exceeds 0.0%. In addition, the person’s driving license shall be immediately revoked if he/she legally possesses one when caught by the police.

The first-time offenders among teens face harsher consequences as compared to adults committing a DUI crime for the first time. This is because the teenage offender is breaking two rules subsequently, i.e. he/she is drinking illegally and driving under the influence. The degree of offense broadens if they have a fake ID for buying alcohol, and they are supplying it to other teens.

A minor’s DUI is charged as a class one misdemeanor in most states of the U.S. Punishment usually consists of heavy fine and community service. The driving license of the teen shall be suspended for up to three years and only be returned if they can demonstrate responsibility. If a teen DUI conviction involves getting into an accident, then the driver is officially subject to jail time.

Minors who have been arrested for DUI multiple times and their actions have caused harm to the lives of people, shall be imprisoned. Jail time can range from a few days to several years, depending on the extent of damages instigated. A DUI crime will go on the permanent record of the offender, regardless of age.

A teen DUI conviction often leads to a few years on probation even after his/her driving license is reinstated. The offender then remains under supervision of legal authorities and breaking the slightest of rules can bring home a hell of trouble. In several cases, the court may choose to confine the minor’s car or demand they install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Some underage offenders merely receive conditional licenses, so they can only drive to locations approved by court.

Teenage drivers that display blood alcohol levels above 0.05% may suffer minor and adult DUI charges. The penalties are doubled, and these offenders are typically required to join a drinking rehabilitation program or attend alcohol education classes. Minors who refuse alcohol testing shall sustain similar charges to DUI, and their license is automatically cancelled. A class one misdemeanor on the minor’s record will affect him/her throughout their life.

Although most colleges will accept such candidates, it will still be a disadvantage. Students might not qualify for certain scholarships and any misconduct on their part shall have dire consequences. Seeking employment can also be challenging for a person with criminal record, as most companies will prefer cleaner options.

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Joseph Franks

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Joseph Franks
Joined: September 16th, 2019
Articles Posted: 102

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