Handling Teens and DUI Charges

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Does your teenager have a DUI charge? It’s terrible, but most states have zero-tolerance laws for underage drivers. That means that any amount of liquor is grounds for a DUI charge, not just being above the legal limit. Indiana’s law is worded a bit differently but carries what is basically the same sentiment. Handling teens and DUI charges can be hard so it’s always a great idea to consult with an Indiana DUI attorney.

Consequences for teens are often harsher, and judges are not inclined to be forgiving, especially for younger offenders. Unfortunately, that may not be the end of your legal troubles. If your child had a BAC on any level and was in a car accident, you may have to deal with various insurance problems as well. Your insurance company may cancel your policy because of reckless behavior, and they may even refuse to cover the damages caused by your teen driver.

When your teen has a DUI charge, you need legal help to handle these many complicated issues. It’s many parent’s nightmares come true, but it does happen much more often than you may realize.

What Happens When Your Teenager Gets A DUI?

When your teen receives a DUI charge, they’ll go through nearly the same process as an adult. If convicted, they can spend time in jail, owe thousands of dollars in fines and fees, and even pay punitive damages to any involved victim. They will also likely face additional charges such as endangerment or reckless neglect if they had their friends in the vehicle with them. 

Police will arrest your teen at the scene, and then contact you. It is likely that they will have their license suspended, and they may have to attend classes or meetings about alcohol abuse. 

Indiana Laws on Underage Driving

In Indiana, there is not a “no-tolerance” policy against underage drunk driving. However, the limit for underage drunk driving is at 0.02% rather than 0.08% BAC. To give this some context, the average weight of a 16-year-old male is about 134 pounds, and that means that two drinks already put them over that limit. The average weight of a 16-year-old female being  118 pounds means that one drink puts them over the 0.02% limit.

Essentially the most that your teen can receive, unless there is an attached felony charge, is a class C infraction or a misdemeanor. In Indiana, anyone convicted of a DUI will also have to attend a victim impact program to learn about the extent of driving while under the influence. At these meetings, they will often go to coroner’s facilities, visits treatment centers, and speak to victims of DUI accidents or their surviving family members.

Teenage DUI Stats

Although it seems like underage drinking has taken a dive, it’s really only been put on the back burner. Yes, there is more focus on teen smoking at the moment, but a few stats will quickly point out that teen drinking and teen DUIs are very present in today’s society.

Read through these stats to understand a bit more about the U.S. state of alcohol use:

If your teen hasn’t yet had a DUI, then it’s important to start talking about these stats now. Most teens don’t have the issue of a DUI addressed until they or a friend are facing DUI charges. Talking to your teen early about the presence of alcohol in their school and community can help them to avoid making these decisions. During this discussion, you can present clear and ready plans for them if they find themselves in these situations such as contacting you, other close family members, or even ordering rideshare to get home safely. 

Prepare for a Fight and Contact an Indiana DUI Attorney

After your teen has put themselves and probably their close friends directly in harm’s way, you want to make sure that nothing else goes wrong. To build a strong case for your underage driver, you need an attorney. If someone was hurt while your teen was driving under the influence, then it’s likely that you may even need legal help as you’re likely the responsible party over the driver.

It’s imperative that you get the best possible legal position before this case goes to court. Contact the Rathburn Law offices to speak with a drunk driving defense attorney. With an attorney in Indianapolis, you can discuss which options are best for you and your child.