As parents, we teach our children to tell the truth. Unfortunately, this can result in self-incrimination if your child is stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence. An admission by your child had a single mixed drink or can of beer can result in serious criminal charges, even if your child does not appear to be intoxicated.
In Georgia, the legal limit for a driver under the age of 21 is 0.02 BAC, compared to 0.08 for an adult. Depending on your child's weight, less than a single drink or can of beer can put him or her over the legal limit.
The penalties for underage DUI in Georgia are extremely harsh, even for a first conviction. Those consequences include:
- Loss of your child's driver's license
- Thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, driver's license reinstatement fees, and added insurance costs
- Alcohol education classes and community service
- A permanent criminal record
To avoid costly penalties, it's important to have a conversation with your child about the consequences of underage DUI. Don't assume that your child will never touch alcohol before he or she is 21. Many good kids will drink a beer in a social situation, not understanding the potential consequences. Explain that the legal limit is different for someone under the age of 21 than it is for an adult. Offer to pay the cost of a taxi fare if your child ever consumes alcohol at a party.
If your child is arrested for underage DUI, don't leave him in police custody to "learn a lesson." The consequences are too harsh. Seek prompt advice from an experienced DUI defense attorney.