What Happens If A Teen Driver Gets a DUI?

Driving takes concentration, foresight, anticipation of what other driver’s are going to do, and most of all experience. As new drivers, teens need to be super focused on driving and nothing else. Just by virtue of their age and inexperience, teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a crash as adults. Driving while distracted is never a good idea for anyone, but as a teen, the consequences, in many cases, can be deadly. The statistics for teens driving under the influence are terrifying. Driving while impaired affects reaction times and judgment, and for teens with little experience behind the wheel, the results are never good.

Teenagers seem to have a feeling of invincibility — nothing can touch them. While that may be a good attribute for facing the challenges of growing up, overconfidence can backfire when getting behind the wheel. Teens need to realize when they are incapable of driving whether they have consumed alcohol or taken any drugs. Statistics about teens and DUIs should be a part of every teen’s driver education course.

Here are some sobering statistics concerning teen drinking and driving.

  • Of all the crash fatalities involving anyone under the age of 21, one in four is alcohol related.
  • According to a nationwide report, twenty percent of students in high school admitted to getting in a car with a driver who they knew had been drinking alcohol at least one time during the month before.
  • Even though teen drivers are not as likely to drink and drive as adults, the chances of being in a crash is considerably higher when they do. This is true even with a lower blood alcohol level.
  • Teens should also know that if they are driving after being awake for 18 hours, the effect is similar to a blood alcohol level of 0.08, which is essentially legally intoxicated.
  • Every year more than 3000 teens die in drunk driving accidents

What happens if a teen gets caught driving under the influence?

In response to drunk driving deaths and injuries among teens throughout the country, zero tolerance laws were put into place in the 1980s. Zero tolerance means that if a teen is caught driving with any alcohol at all in their system, they are immediately arrested for a DUI.

The second part of the zero tolerance law states that the license of any teen caught driving with any alcohol in their system automatically gets their license revoked or suspended by the DMV.

In addition, the court may impose additional penalties. Since these zero-tolerance policies have been implemented, the death rate for teenage drivers have decreased.

If the blood alcohol content is from 0.05 – 0.07 percent or higher, the teen can be charged with both an underage DUI as well as an adult DUI, increasing the penalties.

Other charges may include minor in possession of alcohol, soliciting alcohol from an adult, giving alcohol to other minors, and child endangerment. The teen that is charged will also now have a misdemeanor on their record and their license can be suspended for two years.

It can get worse than that. Some states impose up to one year of jail time for a teen convicted of DUI. If it is not the first time caught drinking and driving, they will likely face time in jail.  Along with jail will be 3-5 years of probation.

Other consequences of teens convicted of DUIs is that they may not pursue careers in education or pre-law. Finding jobs as a teen may be difficult as they will have to list any prior convictions on job applications.

The severe consequences attached to a minor convicted of a DUI are intended to dissuade teens from drinking and driving in the first place. Be sure to contact a DWI lawyer Salt Lake City, UT families trust if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been caught driving under the influence.


Thank you to our contributors at the law offices of Rasmussen & Miner for the above information.


The legal firm of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. has successfully represented many DUI cases. Our attorneys are here to help. Contact Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.

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