Underage Drinking And Driving: What Are the Consequences?

What does underage drinking and driving lead to? Logically, the younger drivers are expected to get involved in an accident more often as compared to any adult driver. This can be because of several reasons such as lack of practice or experience on the road, increased likelihood of distracted driving, and the developing brain.

The risks of involvement of young drivers in road accidents increase if they make a poor decision to drive while being drunk. Teens are at a stage of development, where all they think of is independence in each matter of life. They try to push their limits and look for new experiences.

While the sense of independence for many is healthy and natural, most of them get involved in underage drinking that leads to severe road crashes. Anyone involved in such accidents can end up with serious injuries. That’s why the local police are on high alert to stop any suspicious teen driver.

If you are involved in an Underage DUI case, you can request professional assistance from a qualified DUI attorney to help you prevent the worst consequences.

Zero Tolerance Law

Even a small quantity of alcohol in the blood can influence the driving abilities of underage drivers in several different ways, including:

  • Depth perception
  • Awareness
  • Reaction times
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Judgment
  • Risk aversion

That’s why Charleston, South Carolina, has a zero-tolerance law that prohibits underage drivers from having blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.02%. The maximum level of BAC allowed for underage people differs considerably from the maximum rate permitted to adults, which is almost 0.08%. It means that the local police will be stricter when dealing with an underage, intoxicated driver, even if they only had one drink.

Zero-tolerance laws make it prohibited and illegal for these younger motorists to drive with even a minute amount of alcohol in their body fluids. Depending on the state, the limit might be .03%, .02%, .01%, or any measurable amount of alcohol.

In some states, zero-tolerance violations are considered administrative offenses or infractions, and neither of them is a crime. In other states, zero-tolerance offenses are misdemeanor crimes. But still, the law itself reduced alcohol-related fatalities by 4% to 24%. It would be wise not to take the wheel after a drink, just in case.

Underage DUI Penalties

If an underage driver has a BAC greater than 0.02% for the first time, they will have to be subjected to several DUI penalties for an assigned duration. Underage DUI penalties to be faced may depend on the state laws and the situation of the case. However, an underage DUI can lead to license suspension for almost three months. In many cases, the underage offender will also have to face:

  • Fines ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars
  • Up to a year in jail
  • Community service
  • Substance abuse classes or treatment
  • Having to install an ignition interlock device (IID)

The penalties subjected to an underage DUI or zero-tolerance offense are less severe compared to those of a standard DUI. But remember, being underage doesn’t shield you from being convicted of a standard DUI forever, subsequent DUI charges can lead to extreme consequences.

What Can You Do As A Parent?

The responsibility of preventing underage DUI convictions falls onto the parents. They must go out of their way to emphasize the severe penalties of underage drinking and driving. These are some of the steps you should take for your children:

Talk about drugs and alcohol 

Education is the best resort. If you wish for your teenager to avoid drinking, you must have consistent, meaningful conversations regarding the dangerous penalties of substance abuse.

Don’t provide your children with alcohol

Act as an adult role model in your children’s life. Your actions, behavior, and teachings greatly affect the lifestyle your children adopt. Studies devastatingly demonstrate that the longer a person goes without drinking alcohol, the less likely they’ll have to strive with alcohol abuse or DUI.

Set consequences for drunk driving 

Aside from the penalties held obligatory by the state, it’s crucial that your children feel the consequences of their actions at home as well.

Get Legal Help Right Now!

If you or your teenagers get arrested for a DUI, you should acquire professional assistance as soon as possible. For underage DUIs, it’s also imperious that you communicate to your attorney regarding any concerns about how a DUI conviction might affect the education, financial aid, or career opportunities of your children.

We at Charleston DUI Guy are eager to help you prevent any penalties.