Tuscaloosa, AL- Teens take a lot of risks behind the wheel. One of those risks is driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, found that that 10 percent of teens participating in the survey admitted to drunken driving in the past 30 days. That’s a significant number of teens putting their lives and the lives of others in danger. It’s also a large number of teens in Alabama facing DUI charge.

The legal drinking age in Alabama, like many states, is age 21, and there are not exceptions. Anyone under the age of 21 in the state is not allowed to drink whether they are at a bar or a private home, so the state treats underage DUI offenders harshly.

A person under age the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI even if they have only a minimal amount of alcohol in their system. An underage driver is considered driving under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.02 percent or more. That is a low BAC and for most drivers doesn’t amount to an entire beer or cocktail.

Drivers under the age of 21 who are arrested for DUI in Alabama face the following consequences:

A first conviction for an underage DUI carries a penalty of up to one year in jail depending on the circumstances of the driver’s arrest. There is no minimum jail time. Fines for this offense begin at $600 and can total up to $2,100, and convicted offenders can lose their driver’s license for at least 30 days, possibly more.

A second conviction for an underage DUI in Alabama carries a possible penalty of up to one year in jail with a mandatory minimum of five days incarceration. Fines for this charge begin at $1,100 and can total up to $5,000. An underage conviction also calls for a one-year suspension of the offender’s driver’s license and 30 hours of community service.

Those penalties can be a significant burden and very costly for an underage driver, but they are just the beginning of the consequences an underage driver faces for a DUI conviction. Additional charges include traffic violations, possession of alcohol by a minor, distributing alcohol to a minor and child endangerment.

On top of the additional charges, a conviction for an underage DUI can lead to a steep rise in the driver’s insurance premiums and other administrative costs. And the charge can stay on their record for years, affecting their employment prospects and educational opportunities. Those are just a few of the reasons USAttorneys urges anyone charged with a DUI under 21 to retain a DUI lawyer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With a solid defense and lawyer skilled in negotiations on your side you can minimize some of the consequences you face if convicted of an underage DUI.

We have a team of experienced lawyers who know how to build a winning defense and help you avoid a DUI conviction. All you need to do is set up a consultation with one of our DUI lawyers and listen to their advice. After speaking with one, you can make the best decision about how to resolve your underage DUI charges.