Underage drinking combined with a DUI can result in serious penalties and lasting consequences for any offender. Parents and juveniles who have been charged should have a clear understanding of how the criminal justice system may work differently for young offenders. Those facing criminal charges should also be aware that stiff penalties and a criminal record could impact future educational and job opportunities. At the time of a juvenile DUI arrest, it is important to consult with a local attorney who can review the facts of your case, the charges filed, and work to minimize penalties.
While juvenile courts are often more lenient, underage drunk driving offenders will often face more severe penalties than drivers who are over the legal drinking age of 21. Our Birmingham underage drunk driving defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. We know that the criminal justice system is complex and will take the time to inform you of your rights, explore your options, and provide optimal representation to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. No juvenile should suffer lifetime consequences for a one-time mistake.
Alabama has a Zero Tolerance policy when it comes to underage DUI. This means that even if the driver is not over the federal legal limit of .08%, the driver can be charged. Alabama’s Zero Tolerance Laws allow law enforcement officials to arrest and charges underage drivers if their BAC reaches .02% or higher. Penalties for underage DUI are the same as for other drunk drivers; however the results can be more damaging for a young person. Here are some potential consequences for juvenile DUI offenders:
Suspension or loss of license: First-time offenders will face a 30-day license suspension and up to a $2,100 fine. The duration of your license suspension and fines will vary depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
Jail time: Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and your age at the time of conviction, offenders may face juvenile detention or jail time in an adult facility. For those who have an alcohol dependency problem, alternative sentencing or treatment options may be available.
Increased insurance premiums: Convicted drunk drivers pay much more for auto insurance. Many insurance companies will charge two to three more times the original coverage premium.
Lost opportunities: Even after you pay your fines and serve a court-ordered sentence, your offense will be reflected on a criminal record. A DUI on your record could impact employment opportunities, housing, and the ability to go to college or gain entrance to other educational opportunities.
All of these penalties will be even more severe for repeat offenders. Underage drivers who were caught with a BAC above 08% or a prior DUI record will face a longer suspension, more fines, and potentially jail time. Though the penalties can be stiff upon conviction, it is possible to challenge an underage or juvenile DUI. Alabama has a long history of imposing stiff fines and penalties on defendants. An experienced advocate can review your case and help you protect your rights.