According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 percent of drivers under the age of 21 who are involved in a fatal car crash have been drinking. This shocking statistic indicates how common underage drinking can be, and it also illustrates the danger that drinking and driving presents to everyone on the road. Not only can a DUI cause death or serious injury, but it also comes with several legal and social ramifications. These issues are not easy for anyone to deal with, but they can be especially difficult for an underage teenage driver to bounce back from.
Typical Penalties for an Underage DUI
Many states have a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. In other words, even if your teenager’s blood alcohol content is only 0.01 percent, they can still be charged with a DUI. Additionally, if your teenager is 18 or older, they may not have the possibility of getting the DUI expunged from their record.
Each state has its own specific guidelines for how this issue is handled. For example, even for a first DUI offense in Virginia, the offender will automatically lose their license for 1 year, and then they may be charged up to a $1,000 fine, plus they can put the offender in jail for up to 12 months. With these types of penalties, it is important to hire a DUI lawyer in Virginia who has the expertise to guide you through the process.
Can a College Deny My Teen Due to a DUI Charge?
If your teenager receives a DUI conviction before they enroll in college, it is definitely possible for their application to be denied. In fact, the more prestigious the school is, the less likely they are to let a DUI charge slide. Certain specific programs, including Nursing School, also enforce an anti-DUI policy. Although this might seem unfair, the fact is that these schools have a behavioral code that they expect their applicants and students to adhere to at all times. These schools can also kick students out at any academic stage for a DUI charge as long as they state this policy in advance.
Other Costs Associated with a DUI
In addition to paying court fines and an attorney, your teenager also runs the risk of losing their job. If you have them on your family car insurance plan, it is likely that the company will either opt to drop your entire policy or greatly increase your premium. Due to this, a teenager’s DUI can be very difficult for the entire family. In fact, a DUI conviction can cost as much as $15,000, and it sets a terrible example for any younger members of the family. Because teenagers do not have access to this much money, the responsibility for dealing with the entire situation typically falls on the parents.
Whether your teenager was actually drinking or not, it is vital to hire an attorney who has experience with DUI cases. Even if they are not able to get your teen acquitted, they might be able to get some of the penalties reduced. Additionally, it is important to realize that breathalyzer tests are very controversial because they have a tendency to provide false results. Therefore, it is always a good idea to let a DUI lawyer handle the case. If they are successful at convincing the judge or jury that your teenager had not actually been drinking, it will allow the teen to avoid becoming ineligible for their college of choice.
Due to their immaturity, many teens don’t think through the repercussions of their actions, therefore, Paralegal Kelly Kovacic writes articles to bring awareness to these topics. If your teen was charged with drunk driving in Virginia there are many professionals who can help. A DUI lawyer in Virginia from The Wilson Law Firm will make sure they sort through the charges and find the mitigating factors to keep your teen from serving years of penalties.