Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Understanding underage DUI laws in Louisiana

As we get older, our responsibilities tend to increase. At the age of 16, residents in Louisiana and elsewhere are entrusted to operate a motor vehicle. At the age of 21, individuals can legally consume alcohol. While there are milestones for certain privileges, this does not mean that everyone will follow the rules that often come along with them. Underage drinking unfortunately occurs, and when teenagers decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol, they not only put lives at risks but also risk facing criminal charges.

Age 21 or not, drunk driving charges are considered to be serious. If convicted, individuals could endure criminal penalties for the act. Nonetheless, those facing underage DUI charges will face different consequences when compared to those 21-years-old and older. This is because there are different intoxication standards for those under the age of 21.

For example, many states charge a motorist with an underage DUI if his or her BAC is 0.02 or higher. On the other hand, other states have zero tolerance laws, meaning if there is any alcohol in the system of a driver under the age of 21, he or she could be charged with a DUI.

In the state of Louisiana, a driver under the age of 21 is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.02 percent or more. For first time offenders, this crime is punishable by up to 3 months in jail, fines up to $250, community service and license suspension. In fact, the states use-lose stance is mandatory driving restrictions following conviction of the charges.

Facing a DUI charge at any age is an overwhelming and nerve-wrecking experience. However, any motorist, underage or not, has the right and ability to challenge the charge and the evidence used against them. This could help the accused exert a strong defense, helping them reduce or even dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "DUI Under 21 Laws by State," accessed Jan. 6, 2018

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