Have you been charged with a DUI under 21 years old? Read this before you take any legal steps.
Ending up with a DUI on your record is a scary event. It makes it difficult for you to get your license back, often impacts your record, and you’ll likely have difficulty driving again.
This can cost you your job and have a negative impact on your lifestyle. But what happens when you have a DUI under 21?
Getting caught with a DUI before you’re the legal drinking age opens up a host of other problems. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney help you every step of the way, and work through your charges.
Learn more about why it’s so important to have a dedicated attorney to help you through this difficult time.
Understand How a DUI Under 21 Differs From a Regular DUI
Many people know what happens with a DUI. The individual in question is usually convicted because they shouldn’t drink and drive at the same time.
The game changes when you’re a young person below the legal drinking age. Not only do you have to explain why you were drinking and driving, but why you were even drinking, to begin with.
Although young people are considered adults at age 18, drinking is not legal until your 21st birthday. Although this was not always the law, it was changed to prevent accidents and future health problems in young people.
When you’re convicted of a DUI under 21, you’ll face problems such as:
- Higher insurance rates
- Losing your license for a period of time
- Attending alcohol awareness classes
And that’s just to name a few issues. It’s safer and smarter to have a lawyer at your side; they’ll help plead your case to the judge and work to make sure you’re given fair treatment.
Get Professional Help From an Experienced Lawyer
If you’re a young driver, you know it’s important to drive safe when you’re out on the road. This means driving defensively and avoiding driving during bad weather, in order to keep yourself safe.
If you have a DUI under 21, no amount of safe driving can fix your record, and it stays on there for most of your adult life. This is in spite of taking classes, paying fines, and working with the court.
You likely haven’t been to court before, and aren’t sure what to expect. That’s why you need an experienced lawyer.
Your lawyer can walk you through every step of the way, and work with you on the best plan for your legal situation. Your lawyer has experience with other individuals who found themselves in a similar situation, and knows what route works depending on the judge, your situation, and if this is the first offense you ever committed.
Contact Your Insurance Provider and Expect a Price Hike
If you’re not yet 20 and still considered a teenager (despite being a legal adult), you’ll face many problems as you attempt to keep your car insured. This goes for your family if they are the ones helping you maintain an insurance policy.
In drivers of any age, a DUI is considered high-risk. Because of their prior behavior, these drivers need to have an SR-22 form filled out, and find an insurance company willing to work with you if your current one won’t.
Individuals with a DUI under 21 who are not on a parent’s insurance policy often get dropped, because they are considered high risk. If your parents maintain you under their insurance plan, expect to see a jump.
Some families have gone up to $800 a month simply because their young driver had a DUI under the legal age. Make sure you have a lawyer who can work with you on this, to prevent further problems with even higher insurance rates.
Understand How This Affects Your Driver’s License
Many drivers who commit a DUI for the first time find that they lose their license for a period of time. This ranges from a couple of months to sometimes a year for first-time offenders, depending on how their situation occurred.
Serious offenders lose their license for years at a time or even permanently. If you have a DUI under 21, the game changes significantly, and it becomes harder to get your license at the same time as your peers if you’re still in high school.
Laws vary by state, but at least three months is a common theme for those under 21. Students in the process of getting their license may lose their right to do so until time passes, they turn a certain age or both.
Counseling and education classes are almost always a given for those with a DUI, and individuals under 21 are no exception.
Having an attorney helps since they advise you on what to expect and how to deal with any further issues related to drinking and driving. You’ll know what to do deal with and how you can manage your additional responsibilities.
Find Out About Fines, Jail Time, and Community Service
Many young people think they’ll manage to have a drink and quickly drive home before anything happens to them. What they don’t realize is that officers wait at checkpoints, and can easily detect if someone’s drinking based on their driving.
DUI arrests usually occur at a checkpoint that many people aren’t aware of. See more to learn about how these affect young people.
If it’s determined you’re drinking when the officer sees you, there are many legal repercussions waiting in store.
Among them are:
- Fines (usually $1,000 or more, depending on what happened)
- Spending time in jail or a juvenile detention center, depending on your age
- Taking part in community service in addition to the above-mentioned ways of paying your debt to society
Your lawyer will help you understand if you’re getting called to serve time, or if you have hefty fines in comparison to what most folks have. If you have a DUI under 21, you’ll face strict laws in order to teach you a lesson, so it pays to know what you’re up against.
If you find yourself with a DUI under 21, don’t let bad circumstances dictate your life. be proactive, and seek the help of a qualified lawyer skilled in working with DUIs and young people.
For more help on staying safe while driving, check out our blog on how to spot problems with your car’s exhaust.