How Does Savannah Deal with Underage DUI?
Your child’s adolescence should be filled with good memories: holidays with family, vacations with friends, the excitement of college acceptances and graduations. Of course, there may be hardships and perhaps a heartbreak or two, but, your child should expect to live a fulfilling, happy life.
But if they find themselves facing underage DUI charges, their hopes of a bright future can come to a crashing halt. In order to protect your child from the harsh penalties associated with these charges, here’s what you need to know about underage DUI in Savannah.
The Specifics of Underage DUI
Under Georgia law, any person who is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol while under the age of 21 may be charged with underage DUI.
However, it’s important to note that, unlike a DUI for those over 21, in which the driver typically will be arrested if their blood alcohol content is over 0.08%, underage drivers can be charged if they’re 0.02% or above.
If they’re pulled over under suspicion of DUI, your child can be charged with:
DUI “Per Se”: If they submit a blood or breath test that results in at least a 0.02% BAC
DUI “Less Safe”: If they refuse a chemical test or are impaired by drugs.
Penalties for Underage DUI in Georgia
Our state holds a “no tolerance” policy for underage drunk drivers, so the penalties associated with these crimes are heavy. Although first-time offenses are considered misdemeanors, if convicted, your child may face:
Fines: Often between $300 and $1,000.
Jail Time: Often between 10 days and 12 months. In some cases, judges may allow underage offenders to serve their jail time on weekends or during non-school or work times.
Community Service: A minimum of 40 hours to be served within 60 days of sentencing if convicted of “per se” DUI.
DUI School: A multi-session course split over 20 hours.
License Suspension: For a minimum of six months with no allowances for special school or work permits.
Screening for Substance Dependency: Applies to all DUI offenders, under and over 21.
If your child already has an underage DUI conviction on their record, repeat offenses within 10 years of prior convictions carry even harsher penalties in terms of fines, jail time, and licensing issues.
How an Underage DUI Affects Your Child’s Future
When they’re facing underage DUI charges, your first concerns will likely be for your child’s future — their education and career goals, financial aid or scholarship eligibility, etc. Unfortunately, an underage DUI conviction can affect your child’s:
While some schools will not take a conviction into consideration, others will weigh it when determining admission. More conservative schools will likely reject your child entirely if they apply with a criminal record.
In some cases, schools or financial institutions can revoke your child’s financial aid offer if they are convicted of an underage DUI if the contract included a morality clause.
DUI convictions can appear on background checks filed by potential employers, and the discovery of one can prevent your child from earning important internships or job opportunities.
For these reasons and more, it’s important to do everything legally possible to protect your child from being convicted of an underage DUI. Having the right attorney to aggressively defend them can make all the difference.
Underage DUI Defense in Savannah
If you, your son, or your daughter has been arrested for a DUI, having an experienced lawyer on your side can ensure your rights, freedom, and future are protected throughout the legal process.
The Savannah underage DUI attorneys at The Lerch Law Firm have over a decade of experience helping young people get the best possible outcome in their DUI cases.
Contact us for a free initial consultation to learn about your legal options.