Underage and Under the Influence: DUI Under 21

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you are under the age of 21 and have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you face criminal penalties such as fines, loss of your license, and possible jail time. This is a unique factual situation, which comes with specific penalties and requirements.

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI under 21, an experienced Cobb County DUI attorney can fight to protect your rights. Your charges could be reduced or even dismissed.

Two Ways You Can Be Charged

In Georgia, a nolo contendre or "no contest" plea cannot be accepted by a Court. As a result, drivers under 21 charged with DUI can only be charged by DUI per se or DUI less safe.

DUI per se

Drivers under the age of 21 in Georgia are subject to a 0.02% blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. This level is significantly lower than the 0.08% percent BAC limit imposed on adults over the age of 21. BAC is determined on a number of factors and can be affected by:

  • Your age
  • Your weight
  • The amount of time in which you consumed the alcohol
  • The type of alcohol consumed

With such a low threshold, a single beer, cocktail, or shot could result in you being over the legal limit if you are under 21.

DUI Less Safe

If an underage driver refuses to take the chemical test which could determine the driver's BAC, they could still be charged with a DUI less safe. This charge comes as a result of a law enforcement officer finding that you are under the influence of alcohol "to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive."

Even without a BAC finding, you can be charged with a DUI under 21 as a result of the police officer's judgment.

Penalties for DUI Under 21

Penalties can vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case, especially the number of previous DUI's, if any, you have been convicted of.

  • First Offense: A first offense is a misdemeanor, with 24 hours to 12 months jail time, a $300 to $1,000 fine, and 20 hours of community service.
  • Second Offense: A second offense within a 10 year period will result in 72 hours to 12 months in jail, $600 to $1,000 in fines, and at least 30 days of community service.
  • Third Offense: A third offense within a 10 year period will result in 15 days to 12 months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and at least 30 days of community service.
  • Fourth Offense: If all of the offenses occurred after July 1, 2008, this is now a felony DUI. It carries 90 days to five years in prison, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and at least 60 days of community service.

Consult an Attorney

Never assume that just because you were charged that you are guilty. An experienced Cobb County DUI attorney knows the finer points of Georgia DUI law. With that knowledge and experience, your charges could be reduced or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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