Experienced Murfreesboro DUI Attorneys Defend Underage Driving Under the Influence Cases
Rely on us for solutions when an underage drivers future is at risk
Although the alcohol-related fatality rate of drivers under 21 has plummeted over 60 percent in recent years, many law enforcement agencies still cite the high number of DUI fatalities in this age group as the basis for protracted crackdowns against underage DUIs, and Tennessee has some of the toughest laws in the country in this category. An underage DUI conviction in The Volunteer State nearly always means jail time and extended license suspension, in addition to high fines and other penalties.
The aggressive Murfreesboro underage DUI lawyers at Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley stand up for your rights and work hard to protect your future when facing an underage DUI charge. We strategically prepare a strong defense, and are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible outcome. We take prompt and sustained action to defend your legal and financial interests, both in court and when negotiating with prosecutors.
What is the difference between an adult DUI and an underage DUI?
The lower BAC threshold is by far the biggest difference between these two offenses. Whereas the threshold BAC for adults is .08, in most cases, the level is .02 for juveniles. That means even one drink can trigger a DUI arrest, even if the driver shows essentially no signs of impairment. There is an exception for religious consumption; for example, wine at communion.
Tennessee is an “implied consent” state, so individuals who refuse actual consent to provide a breath or blood sample suffer additional penalties.
What are the penalties for an underage DUI?
In addition to the BAC level, the penalties for an underage DUI conviction are harsher than they are for people over 21. A first offense has a maximum penalty of:
- Jail: Offenders face a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum one year in jail; for offenders with a BAC of above .20, the minimum is seven days. Most judges give offenders credit for time served after arrest to satisfy the minimum, but that is not always the case.
- Fines: The fine ranges between $350 and $1,000. This amount does not include other court costs and fees, such as towing and impound fees.
- License: The suspension period is one year, in most cases; if there was a passenger under 15 in the car, additional license suspensions provisions may apply.
These penalties increase for a second offense, to:
- Jail: With a term of 45 days to one year, at least some jail time is nearly inevitable in these cases.
- Fines and License: These categories essentially double – $600 to $3,500 fine and two year license suspension.
Underage DUI also significantly affects auto insurance. It is not unusual for companies to revoke or refuse to renew the policy; others will increase rates by as much as $200 a month for at least three years. Moreover, drivers who wish to reinstate a suspended license typically must provide an SR-22.
What are some defenses to underage DUI?
The BAC threshold is so low that almost any substance, including some alcohol-based mouthwashes and cold medicine, can cause a positive test. Furthermore, many breath devices have a margin of error of .01 BAC. There may also be procedural grounds for challenge, such as an illegal checkpoint.
Join forces with an assertive Murfreesboro DUI attorney if you are facing an underage DUI charge in Tennessee
There are many ways to fight an underage DUI charge. For the best possible defense, contact the skilled Murfreesboro underage DUI attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley today at 615-893-1331 or online for a free consultation.