Parents of teenage drivers already have a great deal to worry about, but most parents believe that their teen driver will never make the mistake of driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, even the most intelligent teens can have a lapse in judgment and find themselves in serious legal trouble. As a parent, this is no doubt a very stressful and scary situation, and you are likely wondering what to expect. What kind of consequences will your child face? Will there be jail time? Will it hinder their educational opportunities?
What are the penalties for underage DUI in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08, however, that lowers to .02 percent for drivers under 21.
- First offense: Minimum penalty is 32 hours of community service or two days in jail. A maximum $1,000 fine, and a maximum one-year license suspension. Your teen will also lose their license for 180 days.
- Second offense: 240 hours community service or 15 days in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, and a maximum two-year license suspension.
- Third offense: Diversion program or 1 year in jail
Any of these penalties can be enhanced by aggravating circumstances, such as a BAC higher than 0.15 percent, driving on a suspended license, or being a multiple offender. This means larger fines, longer license suspension, ignition interlock devices and jail time or community service. Causing an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death or driving with passengers below a certain age can trigger felony charges or at least greatly increase the criminal and civil penalties for underage DUI defendants. Aside from criminal charges, everyone convicted of a DUI is required to inform their car insurance companies, which may terminate your policy or significantly increase the premium for several years because of the liability.
Future impact of an underage DUI conviction
Underage drinking and driving is serious and the repercussions can extend far beyond your checking account and the loss of personal freedom. Those convicted of a DUI before the age of 21 may find that they also have to deal with:
- Denial of admission into college
- Denial of federal student loans
- Missed job opportunities
- Difficulty being approved for an apartment
- Difficulty getting lines of credit
- Expulsion from student or extracurricular activities
- Loss of scholarships or honors
The possibility of these repercussions is daunting, but pleading out may not get you the best deal. Whether it is through negotiations with the prosecution or fighting the charge and the case against you, working with an experienced defense attorney from the very beginning can help you protect your child’s future and keep it from derailing their life.
How can you fight an underage DUI charge?
The first and most important thing to do is to contact a criminal defense attorney right away. In many instances, our firm can help you avoid the penalties associated with an underage DWI and pave the way for possible expungement. These charges can have a significant impact on a child’s future. If your child is facing these allegations, you should take a close look at your various options and make sure that you handle the situation appropriately. The Russell Law Firm will evaluate the case and advise you on how to minimize the disruption and damage to your child’s life, from driver’s license and OMV assistance to motions, plea negotiation, guidance through pretrial diversion, or trial, and sentencing mitigation. ****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.