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What is the impact of a DUI for an underage driver? Part 1

It is important to note that state laws vary wildly regarding minors and criminal punishment. What applies in one state may not apply in another. Therefore, this post seeks to discuss broad trends in criminal penalties for minors convicted of DUIs. Kids are bound to make dumb mistakes; it is a hallmark of childhood. The key for parents and their children is to ensure that those mistakes do not haunt them for the rest of their lives. This post will go over the implications of a DUI conviction for a child who is under 18.

Just about every state has a “zero tolerance policy” for underage drunken driving. That means if your child is under 21 and tests positive for alcohol, they are immediately arrested and charged with the crime (even if they are under the 0.08 percent limit).

But the good news is that your child is charged (if they are under 18) as a juvenile. Most states offer kids a diversion program that requires them to plead guilty to a lesser charge and attend the diversion programs. The programs are similar to the ones that adults would attend, alcohol education classes, psychiatric assistance (if necessary) and other programs designed to keep them from making the same mistake.

If your child is facing a DWI charge, you may want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you mount a DWI defense that ensures your child’s future is not jeopardized. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, many police and judges are willing to accommodate children and give them reprieve, but it is important you don’t take that assumption for granted, especially in this tough-on-crime atmosphere. A lawyer can ensure that you child receive fair treatment under the law.

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