If most teens and parents think that consequences of drunk driving by minors are lighter compared to those in the legal age, they think wrong. In fact, the punishment for drivers who are minors can be heavier and the evidences needed to pin minors down for such a charge need not be as heavy.
It is important then for both parents and children to know about the laws that govern DUI cases of minors. Laws can vary from one state to another, but in general, they can be summarized as follows:
Criminal Consequences – Penalties for DUI could range from fines to imprisonment. While it is true that minors are dealt with separately from adults when charged with DUI, sentences can vary depending on each court’s discretion. Aside from fines and jail time, juvenile violators can be put on programs that deal with alcohol and drugs addiction. Minors can also be given community service tasks and sent into detention facilities.
Zero Tolerance – States have set limits for blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to consider a driver who is driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). For adults, the BAC is usually at 0.08 and if adult drivers go way beyond the limit, they are arrested. In a minor’s case, he need not go beyond 0.08 to be charged; a BAC of more than 0.02 can already suffice for drivers under 21 to be arrested for DUI or DWI.
Driving Restrictions – For minors who are charged with DUI, their licenses are automatically suspended and can even be revoked. Just a DUI charge, not necessarily a conviction, may be enough for a minor’s license to be completely taken from him. The state also implements suspension sanctions but when minors are involved, the three to six months usual suspension can extend up to a few more months, even years.