Underage DUI in Georgia
It is a very difficult time when parents learn of their young driver's arrest for driving under the influence. Young people make mistakes, and that is part of growing up. Unfortunately, a DUI is a mistake that can follow a young driver for the rest of their life. Driver's under the age of 21 are held to a higher standard, but in some cases can get just as harsh penalties for a drunk driving charge.
Everyone understands that drinking and driving is against the law. If a driver 21 years or older is pulled over by police, it is not illegal for them to drink and drive, as long as they are not impaired, and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under 0.08 percent. However, for driver's under the age of 21, there is a zero tolerance policy towards drunk driving. If an underage driver shows a BAC of 0.02 percent or more, then they can be arrested for drunk driving.
It is unlawful, in most cases, for a minor to be in possession of alcohol, or to consume alcohol. The state of Georgia takes this into account in attempting to discourage underage drinking and driving. A half-can of light beer may be enough for a minor to register above the legal limit, and face a DUI conviction and criminal record.
Georgia Driver's License Suspension
One of the immediate consequences of an underage DUI is suspension of their driver's license. After an arrest, the police will confiscate a driver's license, and give them a temporary permit. However this permit is only good for 30 days. After that, their license will be suspended for 6-months to a year, or more. The only way to challenge the automatic suspension is to act within 30 days from the date of arrest.
You only have 30 days to request an ALS hearing or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle or your license will be automatically suspended.
If you request a hearing within 30 days, there will be an administrative license hearing with the Department of Driver Services. An experienced Georgia DUI lawyer will be able to send out a 30 day letter to secure a hearing, and represent you before the ALS hearing as well as any criminal proceedings. Whether to request a hearing or install an ignition interlock device is a decision that should be discussed with an attorney. Either decision will impact your future so you should ensure you have all of the information before making a choice.
If you fail to request a hearing or install the device, or do not secure a qualified DUI lawyer with experience representing underage drivers, their license will be suspended. For driver's with a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater, but under 0.08 percent, they will have a six-month license suspension. However, if the driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater, they face a 1-year license suspension. In addition, if the driver refuses to consent to a chemical test, then their license will be automatically suspended for a year, regardless of whether they were intoxicated or not.
Atlanta Under-21 DUI Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one was arrested for underage driving under the influence in Atlanta, your license will be suspended, unless you act within 30 days. You also face community service, fines and fees, and a permanent mark on your driving record, which can affect you for the rest of your life. Call me today, so we can immediately file a 30-day hearing letter to save your license, and discuss what happened in your case. You need to know that a DUI arrest does not have to end in a conviction. I have successfully represented hundreds of people charged with DUIs to get their cases dismissed and charges dropped.