While parents try their best to protect their children, there is always the chance that they can get into trouble. One challenging legal problem that parents can help their child with is an underage driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
A 2010 study found that at least 25 percent of college students drove drunk or with a driver they thought had too much to drink. A DUI can have serious repercussions on your child’s life and understanding the process can help you make decisions. We will go over the consequences of a Kentucky underage DUI and the first actions a parent should take.
What are the consequences of an underage DUI conviction?
A person under the age of 21 who law enforcement believes drove a vehicle with at least a 0.02 blood alcohol content (BAC) or under the influence of a controlled substance will receive DUI charges. The repercussions of an underage DUI conviction become more serious the more times a person is convicted within a 10-year period. The underage DUI driver can also receive more serious punishment if aggravating circumstances, such as hitting a person with their vehicle, are present.
Kentucky law has many consequences for an underage DUI conviction, including:
- Fines: A convicted underage driver with a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07 DUI will receive a fine between $100 and $500. These fines become more expensive with a 0.08 BAC, with a first conviction carrying a fine of at least $200 and a third conviction carrying a fine of up to $1,000.
- Jail time: Time in prison can vary depending on a person’s number of offenses, the presence of aggravating circumstances and a driver’s BAC. A first-offense underage DUI conviction with a 0.08 BAC or above can lead to jail time between 48 hours and 30 days. The length of the jail sentences raises with each conviction.
- Alcohol education classes: A judge can order a person who receives an underage DUI conviction to take an alcohol education class, which they may have to pay for out-of-pocket.
- License suspension: Underage drivers convicted of a DUI will have their driver’s license suspended for at least 30 days. If the driver is under 18, they will have their license revoked until they turn 18 or for the normal period, whichever is longer.
- Community service: People convicted of an underage DUI may receive community service time as an alternative to imprisonment and/or fines.
Besides the legal ramifications of an underage DUI, a conviction can cause issues with a person’s college and job opportunities. Some universities suspend students for breaking the law and a DUI can affect scholarships. A DUI conviction can also prevent a person from receiving job licenses or credentials.
What are the first steps that a parent should take?
If the police arrest your child for an underage DUI, contact a knowledgeable defense attorney immediately. Do not try to speak to law enforcement without an attorney because anything you or your child say can affect the case. You should also document the details of the arrest and your child’s side of the story.
While an underage DUI charge is serious, parents can help their children get the best possible outcome. Understanding the consequences of a DUI and having a plan is the first step in protecting your child’s future.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Sheehan Barnett Dean Pennington Little & Dexter, PSC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.