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Under 21 And DUI Arrest: What Happens Next?

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious offense. If convicted, the outcome will change your life. You will face financial penalties, possible incarceration, and loss of your driving privileges. These punishments are enhanced, however, for those convicted of a DUI who are under the legal drinking age of 21.

Massachusetts has very strict guidelines for underage drinking and driving. For example, a person over the age of 21 who is stopped for possible DUI can have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of up to 0.08 before being arrested for DUI. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 can be arrested with a BAC of just 0.02 percent.

An underage drinker will face the following punishments if convicted of a DUI:

Drivers under the age of 18:
• License suspension of two years
• $500.00 to 5,000.00 fine
Incarceration of up to two years
• Mandatory attendance in Youth Alcohol Program
• License reinstatement fee of up to $1,200.00

Drivers between the ages of 18 and 21

• License suspension of 18 months
• $500 to 5,000.00 fine
• Incarceration of up to two years
• Mandatory attendance in Youth Alcohol Program
• License reinstatement fee of up to $1,200.00

Repeat offenders that are underage can face a lifetime suspension of their driving privileges. Other penalties may also apply if a chemical test is performed and comes out positive, if any passengers in the car were under the age of 14, or if an accident occurred while driving under the influence.

What Parents Can Do to Help

When you teen is facing a DUI charge, it is recommended that you hire a DUI defense attorney to represent them in Court. An attorney is the best chance they have for having the charges reduced or dropped. Even if a conviction occurs, having an attorney represent your teen can help prevent excessive punishment for the crime.

A DUI conviction will change everything for your teen. It can impact their ability to get a job, to keep a job, or to attend school. It will place a large burden on you and them financially, and you can expect your car insurance rates to skyrocket. Preventing a conviction is very important to your teen and your family.

When your teen is ready to drive, make sure that you take the time to talk to them about how serious an issue it is to drink and drive. They may act like they are not listening, but they are. The more you enforce the fact that this is wrong, dangerous, and has the potential to change their life in a very negative manner, the more they will think about it and refrain from drinking and driving.

If they do drink and drive and are arrested, seek legal representation and help them through this rough time. Once it is all settled, go back to talking about the dangers of drinking and driving. Hopefully, after experiencing a driving under the influence arrest, they will listen to you more carefully.

Nicole Bailey-Covin is a former television journalist who has unfortunately seen a number of teenage accidents and cases where alcohol played a factor. She searched the online site http://jackdiamondlaw.com for legal facts on DUI, and encourages parents to make sure they are aware of the DUI laws in their state.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deegrafix/4566176263/

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