Everybody knows that you have to be twenty-one (21) years old to legally drink alcohol in the U.S. It’s been quite some time since the drinking age was eighteen (18). Yet teenagers find a way to get alcohol.
Some teens get fake ids. Others have adults buy alcohol for them. Depending on how old they look, some minors are able to buy alcohol without even being asked for identification. And, there are always parents who think it’s a good idea to let their kids drink.
No matter how your child got their handles on alcohol, if they’re arrested for DUI, you’re going to face an uphill battle. Even if your child isn’t old enough to legally drink, that doesn’t mean they can’t be arrested for DUI.
The problem for minors is that they aren’t supposed to drink alcohol in the first place. So when they get pulled over and the cops suspect they’ve been drinking, they’re going to be held to pretty high scrutiny.
For a lot of teens in Georgia, they’re still driving on their probationary or conditional driver’s license. This means they’re going to be in extra trouble if they get stopped and are caught drinking and driving.
If your child has been charged with DUI in Atlanta, you need to call an experienced DUI attorney in Atlanta.
Georgia Has 2 Kinds of DUI for Minors
Minors in Georgia are subjected to two different types of DUI. The law in Georgia includes two different offense. These are DUI “per se” and “DUI-Less-Safe.” Regardless of which one your teen has been charged with, they’re going to face some pretty serious consequences.
For drivers over the age of 21, the legal drinking limit is .08. This means you can be charged with DUI if you blow a .08 or higher blood alcohol content. You can even be arrested for DUI if you’re under this limit but appear impaired or under the influence.
For people under the age of 21, the legal limit is only .02. This means that if a teen has even one drink, they’re probably going to blow higher than the legal limit. This is intentional. The state doesn’t want kids to drink at all. Whether it’s one drink or a dozen, it’s illegal.
For underage drivers who refuse to take the breathalyzer, they can still be charged with DUI. If the police believe your child is driving in any manner that is less than safe, they can be charged with a “DUI-Less-Safe” offense. This is based on Georgia law that makes it illegal to do anything that could make your driving less than safe. It’s almost a catch-all for underage drivers to serve as a deterrent to drinking and driving.
What are the Penalties for Underage DUI in Georgia?
The penalties for underage drinkers convicted with DUI are different depending on whether it’s their first offense. The penalties are as follows:
- First Offense:
- Fines of $300 to $1,000
- 1 day to 12 months in jail
- 20 hours or more of community service
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Second Offense:
- Fines of $600 to $1,000
- 3 days to 12 months in jail
- 30 days of community service
- A possibly longer suspension of your driver’s license
- Third Offenses and Subsequent Offenses
- Considered a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor
- $1,000 to $5,000 in fines
- 15 days to 1 year in jail
- At least 30 days of community service
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
For underage drivers who are still on a provisional license, any DUI conviction will postpone their permanent driver’s license. This could be anywhere from one to three years. And the postponement gets longs for a subsequent offense.
As a parent, you want to make sure your kids are safe. Letting them know that they may have to wait until they’re in their twenties to drive may be enough of a deterrent. They may not be afraid of fines or community service, but this tends to work as a deterrent.
Contact a DUI Attorney in Georgia
If your teenager has been charged with DUI, you’re going to need an experienced DUI lawyer in Georgia. Your lawyer will review your child’s criminal history. They’ll work with the prosecutor to try to get the best possible plea agreement for your underage driver.
It’s important that keep in mind that it’s worth your money to hire a competent DUI attorney in Georgia. Your teen’s future could be significantly affected by a DUI. It’s important that you do whatever you can to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation with a DUI lawyer in Atlanta.