Helping a child charged with a DUI is one of the most stressful situations a parent can face. There are no easy answers, and parents often wonder — how can I best help my child move past this mistake without wrecking their future or my finances? If your child is facing a DUI charge, here are 4 critical things you can do to help.
Educate Yourself About Underage DUI Laws
In Rhode Island, the blood alcohol limit ("BAC") for drivers under 21 years old is much stricter than most people expect. For drivers between the ages of 16 and 21, the legal BAC limit is 0.02, rather than the 0.08 adult standard. Therefore, it is illegal for individuals under 21 years of age to drive with a BAC of 0.02 or above.
Learn About The DUI Court System
Rhode Island courts handle DUI cases differently depending on the age and blood alcohol level of the driver. Family court has jurisdiction over cases involving drivers under 18 years old with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08. For drivers between the ages of 18 and 21, state law treats the matter as an adult civil violation. However, if the case involves an underage driver with a BAC of 0.08 and over, Rhode Island will likely treat the case as a criminal matter regardless of the child's age.
Know The Consequences of A Conviction
For young adults between 18 and 21 with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08, the potential penalties for DUI first offense are:
- $250 fine,
- License suspension for 1 to 3 months,
- Enrollment in a driving school and treatment program, and
- 30 hours of community service.
For a second offense, young adults face:
- A $250 fine and $300 highway safety assessment,
- Up to 60 hours of community service,
- License suspension for 3 to 6 months,
- Attendance at a special DUI course, and
- Attendance at an alcohol or drug treatment program.
For teens under 18 years old, the potential penalties for a DUI conviction are more severe and can include a $500 fine, license suspension from a few months to 21 years of age, community service, and mandatory attendance at DUI course or Rhode Island Training School.
Hire An Attorney
A DUI conviction on your child's record can cause a ripple effect that negatively impacts their future for years to come. So parents must seek legal help from an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. An underage DUI is not a matter that you or your child should face without representation.
Is Your Child Facing A DUI? We Can Help.
If your child has been charged with a DUI, the attorneys at Inman & Tourgee can help. We have over 25 years of experience and are committed to helping our clients secure the best possible outcomes in their cases. Contact us here or call (401)823-9200 so that we can begin to assist you today.