Tough drunk driving laws can prevent teen road deaths.

Asheville, NC- Drinking and driving is a problem in the U.S. with nearly half of all fatal crashes that kills teens or children involve a motorist who has been drinking. That’s a sad statistic but a recent study found that tougher drunk driving laws prevent teen traffic deaths.

Teens and Drunk Diving

A recent study conducted by the University of North Carolina found that between 2000 and 2013, nearly 85,000 children and teenagers were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. Of those crashes, UPI reports that 28 percent were caused by a driver who was legally drunk. Fifty percent of those crashes involve a driver who had alcohol in his or her system at the time of the crash.

Researchers also found that states with strict DUI laws had a 9 percent decrease in teen deaths over states with lenient drunk driving laws. States with fewer teen deaths also had programs centered on teaching adults and teens about responsible drinking.

Underage DUI in North Carolina

Many drunk driving accidents involve adults, but teens also get behind the wheel drunk. A 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, found that 10 percent of teens who participated in the study admitted to driving drunk and over 22 percent admitted to riding with a drunk driver.

The legal drinking age in North Carolina is 21 with a few exceptions including:

Educational purposes

Medical purposes

Religious purposes

Even if a teen has permission to drink for any of the above reasons they are not excluded from the state’s underage DUI laws. In North Carolina, an underage driver can face a DUI with a blood alcohol concentration as low as 0.01 percent.

Additionally, a conviction for DUI will remain on your record for seven years and result in sky-high insurance rates.

Penalties for Underage DUI

First Offense:

Up to one-year imprisonment

Fines between $200 and $500

60-days driver’s license suspension  

Second Offense:

Up to one-year imprisonment

Fines between $500 and $2,000

12-months to two year’s driver’s license suspension

Jail could be in your future if you are charged with DUI in North Carolina.

The consequences of underage drinking and driving don’t stop with a DUI charge. Often, teens face additional charges such as minor in possession, distributing alcohol to a minor and child endangerment. Convictions for those charges and for DUI can add up to significant jail time and expensive fines, penalties, and legal fees. A teen with a criminal conviction faces many barriers to their education and getting a good job.

Get A DUI Lawyer in Asheville

An underage DUI can be an indelible scar on a teen’s record that will affect their lives for years to come including their education and career prospects. Our team of DUI lawyers in Asheville understand the long-term ramifications of an underage DUI conviction. Their understanding of North Carolina drunk driving laws will be an asset to your defense. USAttorneys can connect you with a local defense lawyer to meet with and discuss your case. Call one of our Asheville lawyers today and discuss the best way to resolve your DUI case.