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What penalties could my underage child face for a DUI?

Most parents who find out a child was caught drinking and driving are filled with disappointment and worry. This is especially true when that child is under the legal drinking age. While many adults have a general understanding of the consequences an adult might face for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) citation, most are a little less familiar with the consequences a child may face.

The consequences your child may face will vary based on his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Although the legal limit for adults is .08 percent, it is unlawful for anyone under age 21 to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system.

Underage DUI consequences

If your child was driving with a BAC of at least .01 , his or her driver's license could be suspended or revoked for one year. If his or her BAC was at least .05 or he or she showed signs of being affected by alcohol, your child faces losing his or her driver's license for a year in addition to a $100 fine. If your child is at least 18 years old, he or she will also have to attend a DUI class.

You child's situation is probably more serious if he or she had a BAC of .08 or more, which could result in a misdemeanor offense. The punishment could include three to five years of probation, a fine up to $1,000, participation in an alcohol education program and up to six months in jail.

Each situation is unique

Every situation is different, and other circumstances surrounding your child's arrest could affect the penalties he or she faces. Some examples include, having alcohol in the vehicle, refusing to take a breathalyzer test or injuring someone. If your child has any previous arrests for underage DUI's, that could also impact his or her sentence.

If your underage child has been caught drinking and driving, he or she may face severe consequences. Although your first instinct may be to allow your child to experience the full sting of his or her actions, the legal consequences could have lingering effects on your child's future. In many situations, a child is better able to recover from mistakes when actions are taken to reach the best possible outcome in court.

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