The Perils of a Minor DUI

Spring is quickly turning into summer. Students anticipate the end of the school year and, for some of them, graduation is just around the corner. But first, there is one more major event they will want to add to their high school memory bank: prom. Prom has long been a staple of adolescence in America. Fancy dresses, sharp tuxedos and slow dancing have historically defined the popular affair, but in recent years partying has taken center stage. It is common for students to drink alcohol before or after the event, sometimes even during. When they get behind the wheel to drive their date or group of friends home, the influence of alcohol can have serious consequences and sometimes tragic results.

What is the BAC Limit for Minors in Washington State?

Minors (under the age of 21) can be charged with a DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration of just 0.02%. Most adults easily reach a BAC of 0.02% from a single beer or glass of wine. You can imagine how easy it is for a minor to reach the legal limit. If your child is stopped by law enforcement and found to be under the influence of alcohol, they will be charged with a “Minor DUI.” The possible consequences are as follows:

  • A maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine
  • Possible probation for up to two years
  • Required to attend alcohol and drug counseling and education courses
  • Required to obtain an alcohol assessment
  • Attend a DUI victim’s panel
  • Perform community service
  • Submit to random drug tests (urine and breath)
  • License suspension for 90 days
  • Required to obtain SR-22 insurance

While the list of consequences passed down by the State may be long and sometimes harsh, these possible consequences are not as harsh as the reality of a fatal car crash. Teenagers are still mastering their driving skills; even a small amount of alcohol impairment is extremely detrimental to their abilities. A slight veer into the wrong lane and an over-correction can lead to extreme tragedy.

Before prom, have a discussion with your child. Explain the dangers of alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol. Urge them to enjoy themselves by having a dry prom. One of their greatest high school memories can transform into a lifelong regret with a single drink.

And as always, if your child does have a brush with the law, finding a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney is always the best defense.