Alabama, and most other states, has adopted Zero Tolerance policies when it comes to driving under the influence and being under 21 years of age.
In 49 out of 50 states, having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over .08% is illegal while driving a personal vehicle; if you’re driving a commercial vehicle then the level is lower.
But, if you’re under the age of 21, which is the legal drinking age, the laws get more strict when it comes to driving. Alabama’s laws make it illegal for an underage driver to have a BAC of .02% or higher.
Being so young and facing the harsh penalties and long-term consequences of a DUI makes the ordeal all the worse. A DUI charge for those under 21 does not come with explicitly tougher penalties than a ‘regular’ DUI, but long-term effects can be seen as worse.
Retaining a DUI defense lawyer if you or a loved one is facing these kinds of charges is your best course of action. Our firm can help you handle these matters professionally, diligently, and discreetly. We’ll keep you informed at every step of the way, and we’ll always push for the best possible outcome.
Underage DUI Penalties
A first-time DUI comes with a 30-day license suspension if the BAC was between .02% and .08%. If the BAC was higher than .08% then the severity of the penalties increases to 90 days of license suspension and up to $2,100 in fines. A DUI course must also be attended.
If for a first-time underage DUI, the driver was impaired with a BAC of higher than .15% then they can face: a 90-day license suspension, an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years, and double the minimum penalty of a DUI with a BAC under .15%.
Will you go to jail for an underage DUI?
It’s possible that jail time is a factor if convicted of an underage DUI. A second offense, or any offense after that, will carry the possibility of jail.
Long-Term Costs of an underage DUI
There are long-term costs not detailed under the law. These include the raising of car insurance premiums, lower chances at getting into a higher-education university, and having a criminal record.
A criminal record can set someone back in very significant ways and expunging a record in Alabama is not easy. With a criminal record the ability to apply for a loan, live in certain housing, and find a job all become harder. Being in professional organizations might also become more challenging.
It’s safe to say that taking care of a DUI charge proactively, with a criminal defense lawyer experienced in the field, is a person’s best chance at avoiding the worst consequences.