Georgia is one of the few states in the country that permit teenagers to consume alcohol legally under certain circumstances. As a parent, you can give them permission to drink alcohol at a party, for example, as long as they do not endanger themselves or others. While this leniency may promote as sense of maturity in teenagers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that it could contribute to drinking and driving behaviors. According to their gathered statistics, about 10% of all teens in high school will drink and drive at least once. As a parent, what can you do to prevent your teen from driving intoxicated, and what do you do if they are arrested for it?
Talk about the Consequences of Drinking & Driving
If you want to help stop your teenage son or daughter from drinking and driving, it is crucial that you inform them of the consequences of such behavior while also living up to your own standard, i.e. don’t drink and drive drunk yourself. Clearly, there are health dangers to drunk driving, and you could talk about broken bones, brain damage, paralysis, and other injuries caused by a car accident to no end. But what often influences a teen more than physical danger is legal danger.
Anyone under the age of 21 in Georgia is considered a minor, and any minor driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.2% or greater can be arrested and charged with underage DUI. For many teens, a single beer can push their BAC level above this legal limit if they do not wait a few hours after imbibing it before driving. If the police make them take a field sobriety test – they might not know they can refuse – and they fail it, an underage DUI charge is nearly a guarantee.
Standard penalties for an underage DUI conviction include:
- $300 to $1,000 fine
- 6-month license suspension
- 20 hours of community service
An underage DUI conviction that involves a BAC level over 0.08% may include:
- $1,000+ fine
- 1 day in jail
- 1-year license suspension
- 40 hours of community service
In addition to driving under the influence charges, the police like to tack on other charges that carry their own legal penalties. Your teen may also be charged with soliciting alcohol, distributing alcohol to minors if other teens were present, minor in possession of an illegal substance, and so forth. And do not forget about the hike in their insurance premium that is sure to follow a conviction, as well as the damage to their reputation that could keep them from landing jobs or going to certain colleges.
Showing Support for Your Teenage Son or Daughter
One of the most important things you can do after your teenage child gets arrested for underage DUI is show your support. Let them know that you still care for them and that you will do what you can to help them through this mess. A great way to help them keep their chin up is retain the legal services of W. Keith Barber, P.C. Keith Barber has been practicing for more than 24 years and has maintained a flawless 10.0 “Superb” Avvo Rating for his work on DUI and criminal defense cases. Call 912-764-2623 to make your appointment today.