Younger drivers must drive with extra care. Drivers under the age of 21 must not only abide by stricter driving laws, but they also face harsher consequences for violating the rules of the road.
It is well known that the legal limit for drivers over 21 years of age is 0.08. It is less well known that a driver under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if his or her BAC is 0.02 grams or more within 3 hours of driving.
How long your license is suspended will depend on a few factors. Your license will be suspended for six months if your BAC was less than 0.08, the test results were suppressed, or if you refused to submit to the State-administered chemical testing. You will receive a 12-month license suspension if your BAC was 0.08 grams % or more. Unfortunately, drivers under the age of 21 do not qualify for a limited permit or early reinstatement of their driver's license.
If you are 16 or younger, Georgia law does not consider you an adult capable of committing a criminal offense. As a result, your case will be assigned to a Georgia Juvenile court. In juvenile proceedings, a minor may be adjudicated delinquent, which is similar to an adult criminal conviction. The difference is that an adjudication of delinquency does not subject a juvenile to the same consequences as an adult being found guilty of a crime. The goal of our office is to help avoid an adjudication of delinquency to ensure a clean driving record. One way to avoid the DUI is to get the case reduced to reckless driving.
Although the DUI will not be assessable to schools and potential employers, the driver's license suspension resulting from a DUI offense will remain on your permanent driving history. Unfortunately, schools, potential employers ,and government agencies may access these records into a juvenile's adulthood. That is why getting a non-DUI outcome in a juvenile case is so important.
Even alcohol-related offenses unrelated to driving can affect a young driver's license. These charges include using a false ID to illegally obtain alcohol, misrepresenting one's age or identity to obtain alcohol illegally, or attempting to purchase alcohol while under 21 years old. For the first offense of any of these charges, the typical penalties include a 6-month license suspension, a $300 fine, and up to six months in jail. For a second offense, the most common penalties include a year license suspension, a $1,000 fine, and up to a year in jail.
Georgia law also prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. Minor in Possession of Alcohol ("MIP") is a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum punishment of $300 fine and a 6-month jail sentence. In addition to court-ordered penalties, it can also affect your academic and career prospects. Whether your attorney negotiates your case using legal defenses or through alternative sentencing, you can keep a MIP charge off of your record.
If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense while under the age of 21, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help. Act Now. Your case will not defend itself.