We all make mistakes when we are young. That's what growing up is all about. Unfortunately, that law doesn't take that into account when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. A charge for an underage DUI requires special considerations, and is best handled by a Georgia DUI lawyer who has dedicated their professional career to defending people charged with DUI and underage DUI in the greater Atlanta area.
Have you or a loved one been arrested for an under-21 DUI in Atlanta? You may be unsure about what to do next, but unfortunately, the time to act is short. Within only 30 days after a DUI arrest, a driver may lose the right to drive. The Georgia Department of Driver Services will only give you 30 days to file a formal request for a hearing. The ALS hearing is an administrative process, and separate from the criminal DUI charges. If the request isn't made within thirty days, then the driver's temporary day permit will run out, and they'll be left with a suspended license for six months or more.
If an underage driver refuses to provide a breath or blood sample for a chemical test, then under the implied consent laws of Georgia, their driver's license will be suspended for a year, even if they weren't under the influence of any alcohol.
Underage DUI Penalties in Georgia
Aside from losing their driver's license, an underage driver also faces more serious penalties. Penalties for an underage driver DUI will depend on the circumstances. If the driver shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or more, they are in violation of Georgia's “zero-tolerance” laws for underage drivers. In addition to a suspended license, they will be required to complete 20 hours of community service, and pay fines and fees amounting to hundreds of dollars.
If the underage driver has a BAC of 0.08% or more, the penalties are increased. They will have to spend at least 24 hours in jail, a suspended license for one year, and 40 hours of community service, in addition to any fines and fees.
There are a number of hidden costs associated with underage drunk driving charges. Like all DUI charges, the driver's insurance company may cancel coverage after an underage driver has a DUI, or greatly increase the premiums. Insurers see a DUI as an indication of high risk driving, and will usually keep the higher premiums for three years, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of driving.
In addition, a drunk driving charge will end up on a driver's criminal record, which could make it more difficult to get a job, get a loan, or even rent an apartment.
Georgia Underage DUI Defense Lawyer
Before losing hope, it is important to know that there are lots of ways to fight a DUI charge. The police and prosecutors are required to follow the law, and having someone on your side to fight for your rights will give you a fighting chance to put a DUI arrest in your past, keep your record clean, and hold on to your driver's license. But call soon, because if you don't request a hearing in 30 days, you'll lose your license. Don't delay, and call our office anytime so we can discuss the defense options for an underage DUI charge.