Kids make mistakes. As much as many parents would like to ignore or deny this fact, it is true. As teens, people may be more likely to succumb to peer pressure and engage in reckless behaviors, which is why many young people experiment with drinking alcohol before the age of 21.
While parents may want their child to learn a valuable lesson and be punished for underage drinking, it is important to keep in mind that the penalties of making a juvenile mistake should not be so severe that they jeopardize a young person's future.
According to the website No DUI Colorado, a teen who is convicted on an underage DUI charge could be facing some stiff penalties, even if an underage driver has consumed alcohol but is not above the limit of 0.08 percent. The laws in this state note that any driver under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.02 percent and 0.05 percent will be fined and required to perform community service. Jail time may also be ordered.
If an underage driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or higher, the penalties can be much more serious, as they will typically be the same as DUI penalties for adults. This means a teen could face longer jail sentences, dramatically increased fines and higher requirements for public service.
In addition to these penalties, a young person could also lose his or her driving privileges. Some young people may also face punishments as a student, which could mean loss of scholarships or suspension or removal from sports teams or other extra-curricular activities.
In order to minimize or potentially avoid the serious consequences of an underage DUI, teens and their parents can discuss the situation with an attorney. While it may be necessary for a young person to be punished, it may not be appropriate for them to face criminal penalties and other consequences that could dramatically impact their educational and professional futures.
Seeking the help of a lawyer is not an indication that a young person is above the law or shouldn't have to face consequences. It is a way to support a young person and make sure that he or she is not treated unfairly or the victim of a rights violation simply because of his or her age and vulnerability.