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Difference between regular and underage DUI charges

Every state has laws regarding operating a vehicle while being impaired by drinking too much alcohol. The term "vehicle" can include cars, trucks, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. In order to convict a person of a "Driving Under the Influence" (DUI) offense, the officer must confirm the driver was above the legal limit for driving. Furthermore, the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver has to be monitored to see whether he was above the legal limit or not.

Field sobriety tests are usually carried out by the police officer to check for intoxication. These tests could include asking the alleged drunk driver to walk in a straight line or to recite the alphabet backward. The officer may also conduct some chemical tests including the use of a "Breathalyzer". This device measures the blood-alcohol content of the driver. The driver's refusal to consent to chemical tests may lead to enhanced penalties. If a driver's blood-alcohol level is above .08, then he is considered "per se intoxicated" and further impairment does not have to be shown.

The conviction of a driver under the legal drinking age, who is found driving while under the influence, is somewhat different. For such drivers, all states have "zero tolerance" laws, whereby any driver who is under the age of 21, found to have any traceable alcohol (BAC above 0.0), may be penalized. This means that one could be liable even after having a small glass of wine with dinner. Furthermore, if the BAC is 0.02 or above, then it is considered a "per se" offense and intoxication doesn't even have to be proven. Even without evidence of "per se", a driver may be convicted if it can be shown that his driving was affected by the intoxication.

A DUI conviction can lead to hefty fines and even jail time. Therefore it is important to take the issue seriously. You should consider consulting a Louisiana-based attorney to get a clearer idea of what strategies you can use in your defense.

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