On average 3,000 teenagers are killed every year in accidents caused due to or involving impaired driving across the country. Another statistic shows that the rate of alcohol related automobile accidents is much higher for drivers aged 16 to 20 than compared to adult drivers over the age of 21.
Drinking and driving is not cool. If that is what you have to do to impress the pretty girl at your high school that pretty girl is selfish and not that bright! About as smart as the pretty girl in the beginning of Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.
Brilliant legal counselors in this arena explain that the reason a drunk driving teenager is more at risk for causing an auto accident than an impaired adult is rather self-explanatory.
The fact is that teenagers are generally inexperienced drivers who tend to be reckless and don’t really consider decisions and their consequences. In addition, teenagers are generally smaller physically than full grown adults and hence, scientifically, they tend to become drunk faster. Your body is not full size yet! You cannot drink that 12 pack and remain sober!
This, of course, does not mean that it is safe or ok for adults to drink and drive. Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is a bad idea irrespective of who you are and your age. A drunk driving conviction can result in adverse consequences and can effectively turn your whole life and career upside down. You thought detention was bad!
Zero tolerance laws for teenage drunk drivers
For the most part, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit above which a person is said to be driving under the influence of alcohol is 0.08% BAC. However, what most people tend to forget that this limit is only for adult, non-commercial drivers. State laws usually have much stricter limits for teenage drivers or commercial drivers for obvious reasons.
Some states like Louisiana have zero tolerance laws where anything above 0% BAC, which means even trace amounts of alcohol in the blood of an underage driver can result in a DUI charge and conviction respectively. According to recent statistics, there were as many as 3,379 alcohol related crashes in Louisiana where drivers were found with a BAC of .01% or higher.
The zero tolerance laws so far have worked rather effectively and have caused a drop in the number of teenage fatalities since its introduction.
Consequences for teens convicted of impaired driving
The specific punishments for a teenager who has been convicted of drunken driving may vary from one state to the other. However, generally speaking, a first time offense itself can result in a prison term of up to one year.
Convictions for a first drunk driving offense include:
- Mandatory incarceration for 2 days and up to 6 months (there goes your baseball or football season!)
- Fines ranging from $300 and $1,000, which excludes court costs, fees, and other surcharges
For repeat offenders, the fines get heavier, the prison sentences get longer, and so on.
Usually, punishments can include but is not limited to jail time, fines, ignition interlock devices, ankle bracelets, probation, community service, etc.
If you happen to be an underage driver arrested for drunk driving, we strongly recommend that you talk to a sensational Louisiana drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible to get started working on building a solid, fool proof defense strategy.