It’s almost a rite of passage for a teenager to drink alcohol before he is legally allowed, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. All too often these underage children have a few drinks, and then think they are still able to drive. In fact, according the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website, Virginia drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were involved in 1,109 alcohol-related crashes in 2011. Additionally, 32 people died in accidents caused by underage, intoxicated drivers that year.
The heart-wrenchingly high numbers are what prompted lawmakers to take a stand against drunk driving over 10 years ago. Along with lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to .08 percent to those 21 years old and older, and .02 percent for underage drivers, DUI penalties became harsher.
What Underage Intoxicated Drivers Face
Those who illegally drink and then get behind the wheel not only put their lives in jeopardy, but their futures as well. If you’re caught in such an act, here’s what you’re up against:
- First offense. If a chemical test finds your BAC above .02 percent, you could face 10 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension of one year.
- Second offense. If you’re caught driving while intoxicated again when you’re still underage, you could face imprisonment for at least 10 days, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension of up to three years.
- Other penalties. In addition to jail and fines, and having your driving privileges taken away, drivers can also face charges against soliciting alcohol, possession of false identification if a fake ID was used to purchase the alcohol, distributing alcohol to minors if other underage folks are intoxicated, child endangerment law violations, and moving and vehicle maintenance violations.
We Can Help
When you are up against these life-changing charges, you want someone who is experienced and hard-working to go to bat for you. The legal professionals of the Easley Law Firm want to fight for you. Contact us today to learn how.