When it comes to underage drinking, Georgia’s laws are more lenient than most other states. But that doesn’t mean they’re not serious. While individuals under the age of 21 can legally consume alcohol at home with their parents’ consent, underage drinking and driving is a different matter entirely.
If you are under 21 and pulled over for suspected DUI and a chemical test confirms that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .02% or more, you face significant legal penalties. A BAC higher than .08% (or a charge for a secondary offense) can result in more severe consequences, many of which will affect your life long after your conviction.
Below is a list of 5 major consequences that an underage DUI represent, both now and in the future.
- Fines and Potential Incarceration
While there is no mandatory jail time for a first DUI offense when your BAC is under 0.8%, you can pay up to $1,000 in fines and be ordered to do at least 20 hours of community service. For BACs that measure 0.8% and above, you risk a minimum of 24 hours in jail, at least 40 hours of community service, and a fine of $300 to $1,000.
- Loss of Your Driver’s License
An underage DUI conviction entails more than fines and jail time. Even if you are a first-time offender, you can lose your license for six months and not be eligible for a limited driving permit, making it difficult to get to work or school. Second offenses can see your license revoked for a year or more, depending on your BAC. It is even possible to be handed a five-year license suspension under certain circumstances, such as a third or subsequent DUI offense.
- Increased Auto Insurance Premiums
Even if your DUI is a one-time mistake, auto insurance providers will consider you a bigger coverage risk. After your license is suspended, you’ll have to file an SR-22 to get it reinstated. This form is sent to the state by your insurance company to prove that you have the necessary minimum insurance coverage. You’ll have to maintain SR-22 filing status for three years after a DUI conviction and whatever elevated premiums your insurance company requires.
- Problems Getting into College
Many college applications require you to disclose any past arrests or convictions, so a DUI can impact your ability to get into the college of your choice. Even if you do get accepted, any additional DUIs can get you suspended. For example, any school in the University of Georgia system may suspend you simply for a DUI arrest.
- Difficulties Finding a Job
Many employers routinely run a criminal background check on all applicants, so your DUI conviction can hinder your chances of getting a job to pay for school and even act as an obstacle to your chosen career afterwards.
If you have been arrested for underage DUI in Georgia, call Savannah DUI today. We will review the circumstances of your arrest as well as the chemical test results with the ultimate goal of saving your driver’s license and preventing a mistake from impacting the rest of your life.