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What to Do If You Are Charged With an Underage DUI in Atlanta

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia and you are under the age of 21, you can receive serious penalties and punishments if convicted of the offenses, and a DUI or DWI conviction could have serious lasting collateral consequences.

For example, a juvenile DUI offender could face a license suspension, jail or prison sentence, steep fines, a criminal record and/or community service. Even if your criminal record is expunged or sealed, you still may be required to disclose the DUI to certain educational programs, such as college or graduate schools and on certain job applications.

If you have been charged with an underage DUI in Atlanta, it is essential to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney today who will begin crafting your legal strategy to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense.

Atlanta Underage DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with a juvenile drinking and driving offense in Atlanta, or any of the surrounding areas in Georgia, including Roswell, Smyrna, Lawrenceville or Marietta, contact Benjamin Von Schuch, Attorney at Law. Benjamin Von Schuch is a former prosecutor who understands how the DUI case is being prepared against you and how to effectively use any defenses to achieve a reduction or dismissal of your charges. Call today for a free consultation at (678) 948-7811 about your alleged underage drunk driving offense.

Georgia Juvenile Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Any juvenile who is under the age of 21 and drinks and drives in Georgia is subject to the state’s zero tolerance laws. This means if a minor under the age of 21 is pulled over on suspicion of DUI, and the law enforcement officer finds the juvenile has a blood or breath alcohol concentration level over 0.02, they can be arrested for DUI automatically. The means a juvenile DUI offender does not have to blow over the state’s legal limit in order to be arrested, they merely have to have any detectable amount of blood in their system.

According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(k), a juvenile or driver under the age of 21 can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) if they drive or are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while:

  • They are under the influence of alcohol;
  • Under the influence of drugs;
  • Under the influence of any glue aerosol or other toxic vapor;
  • Under the combination of any alcohol or drug; or
  • There is any amount of marijuana or controlled substance present in the juvenile’s blood or urine.

A child, or juvenile, is defined under Georgia law in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-2 as any individual:

  • Who is under the age of 17,
  • Under the age of 21 who committed an act of delinquency before reaching the age of 17 and who has been placed under supervision of the court, or
  • Under the age of 18 who is alleged to be a “deprived child” or “status offender.”

Repercussions to a Juvenile DUI in Atlanta

A juvenile DUI is generally punishable as a misdemeanor for a first and second offense. This offense can result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence up to one year. A first DUI conviction is subject to a minimum fine of $300 and imprisonment of no less than ten days. A second juvenile DUI conviction is subject to a minimum fine of $600 and a jail term of no less than 90 days.

A third underage DUI conviction is classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor offenses, which is punishable by a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and/or imprisonment from 120 days to 12 months.

Juvenile DUI offenders may also be required to complete community service, attend a DUI a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and/or attend a clinical evaluation. Further, underage DUI offenders are not permitted to plea nolo contendere to their offense; they must plea either not guilty or guilty.

Underage DUI License Suspensions in Atlanta

According to O.C.G.A. § 40-5-57.1, an individual who is under the age of 21 can receive a driver’s license suspension after a conviction for certain offenses, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.

A conviction for a first offense can result in a license suspension for up to 12 months. A juvenile can apply to have their license reinstated after this period has expired, but is not eligible to have a hardship license during the suspension. However, if their BAC was under .08, they can apply to reinstate their license after the six month probation. If the juvenile’s BAC was .08 or higher, their license cannot be reinstated until the 12 month period is over. They are also not eligible for a hardship license during the suspension period.

If the juvenile receives a second DUI within five years, their license can be suspended for a period of three years. If they receive a third or subsequent DUI conviction, they will be considered a habitual violator, which can ultimately result in a driver’s license revocation.

For DUI suspects under the age of 21, OCGA § 40–5–67.1(b)(1) requires the arresting officer to give an implied consent warning that provides:

“If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more, your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year.”

Georgia's DUI statutory scheme also provides that the implied consent warning “need not be read exactly so long as the substance of the notice remains unchanged.” OCGA § 40–5–67.1(b). The failure to properly read the implied consent warning to a person under the age of 21 years old can result in the suppression of any evidence that the person refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test.

Benjamin Von Schuch, Attorney at Law | Fulton County Underage DUI Attorney

Contact Benjamin Von Schuch today for a consultation about your underage driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs offense throughout Fulton County in Georgia. Benjamin Von Schuch is an experienced DUI attorney in Atlanta who will make every effort to achieve the best possible outcome in your situation.

Call (678) 948-7811 for a consultation about your alleged juvenile or under the age of 21 DUI offense throughout Atlanta in Fulton County, Georgia and the surrounding areas of Cobb County, DeKalb County, Clayton County and Gwinnett County.