A look at underage DUI in Georgia

Congress passed the National Minimum Legal Drinking Act back in 1984. The law established the legal drinking age at 21, and if states, including Georgia, wanted to continue to receive federal monies for road construction projects, they had to set their legal minimum age to drink at 21. Along with the implementation of the lawful drinking age, Georgia and other states enacted laws to deal with underage DUI.

The law was passed because of concerns that young people who are inexperienced at driving and drinking could more easily become statistics in alcohol-related crashes. Some Georgia residents might not realize that no one under the age of 21 who is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving faces charges with driving under the influence for a blood alcohol content of .08. Instead, underage drivers need only have a BAC of .02 to be arrested for DUI.

The short-term penalties that accompany a conviction for underage DUI might not seem that bad, but the long-term effects can by much harsher. The ability to start out life with a clean record is gone since a conviction follows an individual for years to come. It could affect the ability to go to college, to apply for scholarships, loans or jobs. In addition, car insurance rates go up and the individual loses his or her driver's license temporarily.

Being charged with an underage DUI should not be taken lightly. It is typically best to enlist the help of an attorney as soon as possible. Many first time offenders are eligible for programs that keep their records clean after successful completion of certain requirements. In other cases, the charge itself could be reduced or dismissed based on the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and the arrest.

Source: georgiadrunkdrivingprevention.com, "Underage Drunk Driving in Georgia", Accessed on Feb. 10, 2017

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