DUI 101: What is a Juvenile DUI?
If you are caught drinking and driving while underage and charged with a juvenile DUI, you could be facing some harsh punishment. All 50 states have a "zero tolerance" statute, meaning it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system. Any violation of this law may lead to a minor DUI charge.
Juvenile DUI Charges: What does zero tolerance mean?
Each state's DUI law varies on its definition of zero tolerance and a juvenile DUI. Most states have set the "designated concentration" at .02 percent, which is less than one beer for the average-sized teen considering that a 180-pound man may reach a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 percent after one beer. This percentage is very low to stop juvenile DUIs. Some states have even set the cut-off at .00 percent so that any juvenile driver with a trace of alcohol in their system is violating the law.
One thing that all the states agree on is that a minor DUI is not about being "under the influence." In a juvenile DUI case, the state only has to prove that the underage driver had the designated amount of alcohol in his blood.
What are the consequences of a minor DUI?
Most of the time, underage drivers that are charged with a juvenile DUI are also convicted of consumption of alcohol by a minor or possession of alcohol by a minor. Penalties vary, depending on the state and the crime. Some states issue an automatic license suspension for a minor DUI, while other state courts charge the underage driver with a DUI and the possibility of jail time and a criminal conviction.
If the underage driver is convicted of additional juvenile DUIs, the penalties will likely be much harsher. Underage drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test also may face stricter penalties.
If you've been charged with DUI as a juvenile, speak to a local DUI lawyer as soon as possible by filling out our free DUI case evaluation form or calling 1 (877) 349-1311.