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What happens if you are facing DUI charges and you are under 21?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Dui And Traffic Violations

When minors consume alcohol and decide to drive, they not only risk their safety but also endanger the lives of others on the road. Their lack of driving experience, combined with the impairing effects of alcohol, can increase the likelihood of accidents, often with tragic outcomes.

This heightened risk is a primary reason why Indiana imposes serious penalties and has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.

Legal penalties

For those under 21, having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or higher can lead to a DUI charge. This threshold is lower than the 0.08% BAC limit for those over 21. The severity of the consequences depends on your age at the time of the offense.

For individuals under 18, Indiana typically addresses DUI cases through juvenile delinquency proceedings. The aim is to help minors learn from their mistakes and avoid future offenses. However, this does not mean the consequences are insignificant. Juveniles can still face penalties such as fines, community service and mandatory participation in substance abuse programs.

Those aged between 18 and 21 could face misdemeanor charges for DUI. These carry stronger legal penalties, including:

  • fines and court costs
  • loss of driving privileges
  • probation and community service
  • potential jail time

A conviction can also result in a permanent criminal record, impacting future outcomes such as education and employment.

Personal impact

An underage DUI charge in Indiana can have lasting personal effects. A criminal record can hinder college admissions, job opportunities and professional licensing. The social stigma associated with a DUI charge can also lead to strained relationships with family and friends.

For repeat offenders, the penalties increase significantly. This can lead to harsher punishments and further damage to personal and professional prospects.

Facing DUI charges under the age of 21 in Indiana is a serious matter with both legal and personal consequences.