Georgia is one of the harshest states when it comes to driving under the influence. If your child has been charged, you may, therefore, be afraid they will receive severe punishment. This is understandable since you have no idea what is going to happen to your teen. However, there are opportunities for positive outcomes. Read on to find out how Athens DUI lawyers can help with a DUI charge and what it involves and what you can do.
Types of DUI Police Can Charge Your Teenagers With
For adults in Georgia, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. For teenagers, the legal limit drops considerably to 0.02 percent. This makes sense since underage citizens should not be drinking at all. If your child’s BAC is above the legal limit, they can be charged with DUI per se.
If they refuse to submit to a chemical test, they can still be charged. The same applies if they were under the influence of drugs only. Since there will be no BAC record, officers make a determination based on signs of impairment. This is called DUI less safe.
Steps to Take After Your Teen is Charged
The first thing you need to do is contact an attorney. You need a legal expert to determine whether there is actually a case against your child before you panic. A lawyer may be able to get the charge thrown out by arguing:
- The stop was improper
- The sobriety tests were not properly administered
- The sobriety tests were not accurate
- The evidence was mishandled
If the case can’t be thrown out, the attorney will try to fight a conviction. If they can’t, they will work to get the minimum sentence. This is unlikely something you can handle on your own so hiring an attorney is essential.
Regardless of what happens, encourage your teen to take the advice of their attorney. Remind them to be respectful throughout all the court proceedings and to tell the truth. This doesn’t affect the facts of the case, but the judge is human. The impression your child makes can affect sentencing.
In the event of a conviction, ensure you and/or your teen pay the fines as soon as possible. You should also ensure they complete community service and any other programs mandated by the court. Since DUIs stay on driver’s records for several years, they can affect employment opportunities. Encourage your teen to be honest about their record during interviews.
Criminal Penalties for Underage DUIs Explained by Athens DUI Lawyers
It is helpful to know the penalties for young drivers convicted of a DUI. They vary based on several factors including prior DUI convictions. For first offenses, driving under the influence is a misdemeanor. The fine is usually between $300 and $1,000. The driver may spend anywhere from 24 hours to 12 months in jail depending on the circumstances. Your child may also have to complete 20 hours of community service within 60 days of sentencing. The penalties increase substantially with second, third or fourth offenses.
You may be happy to know those underage drivers can benefit from special treatment during sentencing. For example, the judge may allow them to serve jail time on the weekends or whenever they don’t have to work. They will be placed away from other inmates in jail.
You can also take heart in the possibility that your teen may be released early for good behavior. They may get credits for programs they take part in while in jail.
What DUI Lawyers in Athens, GA Have to Say about License Penalties and Fees
You may be more concerned about the criminal aspect. However, you should know a DUI also affects your child’s driver’s license. Convicted underage drivers will lose their license for at least six months for a first offense. There is no possibility of getting a restricted license to drive to school or work. Repeat offenders can receive suspensions between 18 months and two years.
All convicts, including teens, need to undergo a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. They have to pay for this, and it costs in the region of $350. They also have to agree to clinical evaluation for alcohol and drug dependency and undergo treatment, if necessary.
Contact Athens DUI Lawyers Today!
If your teenager has been charged with driving under the influence, don’t delay in contacting us. Our DUI attorneys in Athens, GA have the necessary skills and experience and we know Georgia laws well. We will listen to your teen’s account of their DUI stop, review the evidence and build a case. Our goal to ensure the best possible outcome for your child. Call us today and set up a consultation so we can begin working on your teenager’s case. This is not a battle you want to fight without representation.