People under 21 can drive, but can't legally buy alcohol. People over 21 can buy and drink alcohol, and they can even drive as long as they are not impaired. But if a driver under 21 drinks and drives, not only do they get the same harsh punishments under the law, but they are held to an even higher standard that over 21 drivers. This may not seem fair, but the law isn't always fair. This is why you need someone on your side, to fight the charges against you, to make sure you get the justice you deserve.
Before you even consider taking your DUI arrest on by yourself, consider all the consequences. A DUI conviction will give you a criminal record. That won't go away, and it won't be forgotten. It could impact employment opportunities, educational options, and future job prospects. Getting a DUI may have been a lapse of judgment. Don't let a DUI conviction be your second mistake. You have rights and you have options. No matter what the police did or said, or how guilty they made you feel, you are not guilty until the court says you are.
Driver's over 21 are considered impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% or higher. But for driver's under 21, they are considered impaired if they have a BAC of only 0.02% or greater. For many people, 0.02% would be less than 1 beer. This is because Georgia has a zero tolerance policy towards underage drinking and are trying to discourage young people from drinking alcohol.
Penalties and consequences for a first underage DUI conviction include the following:
- Fines and fees of hundreds of dollars;
- Increased car insurance premiums for years;
- Mandatory community service;
- DUI school; and
- Driver's license suspension from 6 months to 1 year.
For many young drivers, having a car is how they get around to school, to work, sports, and social events. Losing your license for up to a year will mean asking for rides, taking the bus, or riding a bike around town. To make matters worse, you may lose your license even before you get your chance to defend your case in court. This is because the Department of Driver Services handles DUI arrest license suspensions in a process called Administrative License Suspension, or ALS.
The only way to challenge a license suspension is by formally requesting an ALS hearing, and paying the administrative fee. This has to be done within 30 days from the date of arrest. If the hearing is not requested, then there is nothing that can be done, and your license will get suspended. Contact your Atlanta DUI defense lawyer, and they can file the 30-day letter, and even represent you at the ALS hearing so you can keep your license.
Georgia Underage DUI Defense Lawyer
If you got an underage DUI, before you give up, remember that there are lots of ways to fight a DUI charge. You need someone on your side to make sure your rights are protected, so you can put a DUI arrest in your past, keep your record clean, and hold on to your driver's license. Don't delay and call our office today so we can discuss your case, and how we will fight for you.