Underage DUI is a serious problem all across the United States. Underage drivers are more reckless, and many don’t wear a seatbelt while driving. In most states in America, anyone who is under the age of 21, and caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .02% or more, can be arrested for a DUI.
In North Carolina and Arizona, the laws for underage DUIs are even more severe. These states have a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking. In these states, having any alcohol in the blood that registers on a BAC test will result in a driver being automatically arrested for driving while intoxicated or under the influence. Some states have a lesser margin with a blood alcohol content of .01% causing drivers to experience penalties, and a higher blood alcohol content of .05% will result in an automatic DUI charge.
Besides being fined, which can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, an underage driver charged with a DUI will probably wind up with an automatic license suspension. Generally, a license suspension could last from 6 months to a year. The driver will probably be required to attend drug and/or alcohol awareness and driver’s education classes, as well as being ordered to perform a certain amount of hours of community service.
Sometimes, in lieu of community service, the offender may have to pay a fine, and other times it may be a combination of both. There is also a very good chance the individual may be required to serve jail time, depending on the state laws and the facts related to the case. Generally, for a first-time DUI offense, an underage offender may have to serve at least one day, or it could result in a sentence of up to a year. In addition to jail time, an underage offender will be subject to a period of probation from three to five years and could also be sentenced to community service.
Something which many young DUI offenders may not realize is that disclosure of the conviction will be necessary for college applications, job applications, or if the person is applying for certain types of financial aid. Failing to disclose a DUI conviction could result in loss of rights, loss of financial aid and difficulty finding a job. Finally, a lot of states have an automatic “use and lose” policy which means any person under the age of 21 found to be driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol could face an automatic license suspension, no matter what the circumstances.