When your minor is charged with DUI, he or she is facing a very serious offense. Even a first time conviction can result in a hefty fine, the loss of driving privileges and jail time. This is why it would be in your best interest to consult immediately with a criminal defense attorney.
The punishment will depend on the state your child lives in, along with the consequences of the DUI. For instance, if your minor’s DUI incident caused someone major property damage and/or serious or fatal injuries, his or her charges will be more severe. When this is the case, your criminal defense attorney will need more time to mount a counter-argument.
However, all states have adopted a statute known as “zero tolerance.” This means that anyone under the age of 21 who drinks and drives is subject to a minor-charged DUI. Because of this, a criminal defense attorney is crucial to your child’s case so that the possibility of having the charges reduced is higher.
The percentage of alcohol content that will lead to charges varies from one state to the next. In some states it doesn’t matter if there is even a trace of alcohol in the child’s system, they may be charged. However, there may be extenuating circumstances that a criminal defense attorney may be able to prove.
Parental Responsibilities with a Minor Charged DUI
The reality is, it is not uncommon for minors to drink. They can usually manage to get their hands on alcoholic beverages if they try hard enough. In some homes, parents even allow their children to drink.
Whether your child obtained alcohol with or without your permission, you are still responsible for any resulting consequences. If another minor child is in your home and you allow for underage drinking, you can be held liable if that child drinks and drives and it results in property damage or injuries to an individual.
Parents can face criminal charges for serving alcohol to a minor and they can end up responsible for the payment of:
- medical bills;
- property damage; and
- other losses experienced as a result of a DUI accident.
You should also know that if your child is stopped by a police officer and he or she refuses to take a Breathalyzer test, he or she can face harsher punishment. In most cases, a .02 blood alcohol level (BAL) will result in a six month suspension of his or her driver’s permit or license.
If this is your child’s second offense or more, his or her license and permit could be suspended for one year. The punishment for a minor-charged DUI will also depend on their BAL.
It is important to learn what your child’s BAL was, since this could impact the charge. The higher the level, the more serious the punishment can be. A criminal defense attorney can obtain the records that show how much alcohol was in your child’s system.
In addition to your child being charged, you could be as well. This will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. Not only could you be responsible financially, but you may face other types of serious punishment as well.
Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney who has experience handling DUI charges. They will ensure that your child’s legal rights are protected and that any charges being brought against you or your child are fair.