Driving under the influence (“DUI”), sometimes referred to as driving while intoxicated (“DWI”), is a serious offense. For those who are not old enough to drink, the charges are even worse. Being charged with DUI as an underage driver can have lasting repercussions that may affect your family, relationships, ability to attend college, and even your career prospects. To best protect your future, you need a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI defense.
At the Law Office of Carter Pilgrim, our lead DUI/DWI defense attorney, Mr. Phil Pilgrim, has extensive experience as both prosecutor and defense counsel in DUI/DWI cases. As the Senior Assistant Solicitor-General in Georgia, he prosecuted hundreds of DUI/DWI cases and understands exactly how the prosecution will approach your case. If you or someone you know has been arrested for underage DUI/DWI, please contact our offices as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.
What is Underage DUI in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, underage DUI is operating any motor vehicle while under the effects of drugs or alcohol by a driver younger than 21 years of age. Underage drivers, those not old enough to legally drink, can receive two different underage DUIs.
First, underage drivers can receive a DUI per se for operating a motor vehicle while having BAC in excess of 0.02% within three hours of driving. Compared to regular DUI, the legal limit for an underage driver is one-fourth of the BAC meaning that even half a drink can put an underage driver over the limit.
The second DUI an underage driver can receive is a DUI less safe which results from lack of evidence regarding BAC, often due to refusal to submit to BAC testing. Similarly, DUI less safe is a DUI charge for driving while under the effects of drugs where the normal BAC test would not apply.
What are the Penalties for Underage DUI in Georgia?
Like regular DUIs, underage DUIs carry hefty fines and penalties in Georgia. For a first offense underage DUI, conviction can carry the following:
- Fine ranging from $300 to $1000;
- One day to one-year imprisonment; and,
- Minimum of 20 hours of community service.
For a second DUI conviction, whether underage or not, within a ten-year period, the following penalties will apply:
- Fine ranging from $600 to $1000;
- Three days to one-year imprisonment; and,
- 30 days of community service.
For a third DUI conviction within a ten-year period, the following penalties apply:
- Fine ranging from $1000 to $5000;
- 15 days to one-year imprisonment; and,30 days community service.
- 30 days community service.
For a fourth DUI conviction within a ten-year period, the penalties drastically increase as the offense goes from being a misdemeanor to a felony:
- Fine ranging from $1000 to $5000;
- 90 days to 5-years imprisonment; and,
- Minimum of 60 days of community service.
In addition to the DUI consequences identified above, underage drivers often face additional consequences outside of the legal system. Being convicted of a DUI early on in life can significantly limit career prospects – being convicted of a DUI will often negatively affect any college application that you make.
Regardless of whether you choose to pursue college, being convicted of a DUI can also limit your ability to receive certain licensure required for employment, such as a commercial driver’s license. Overall, being convicted of an underage DUI will have lasting implications for the rest of your life.
How to Defend Against Underage DUI in Georgia?
Even if you believe that you may have an “open and shut” case against you, contacting Georgia Carter Pilgrim can be the difference between receiving an acquittal and being convicted. Even if you have been arrested and failed a BAC blood test, there are several defenses that we may be able to raise in your defense:
- The police officer lacked probable cause to make the original traffic stop. Police officers are not allowed to randomly stop drivers for driving properly – they must be able to articulate what the driver did that was illegal or gave rise to the belief that a crime was being committed. Failure to do so can result in a dismissal of charges.
- Breathalyzer test have a specific protocol that must be followed to ensure their accuracy and legitimacy. Failure of the police officer to follow protocol may render the evidence being inadmissible.
- The required procedures for BAC blood tests often result in strong defenses against DUI when the procedure was not followed. Again, failure by police and/or medical professionals to precisely follow the prescribed procedure will often result in the evidence being inadmissible.
Contact our DUI Defense Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia
At the Law Office of Carter Pilgrim, we have years of experience as DUI/DWI prosecutor and defense counsel and are best situated to provide you the legal defense you deserve. We understand the stress that criminal charges bring, especially early on in life for those charged with underage DUI. If you or someone you know has been arrested for underage DUI, please contact our offices as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Office of Carter Pilgrim is located in Suwanee, GA and serves Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Cumming, Buford, Lawrenceville, Braselton, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Duluth, Norcross, Hoschton, Jefferson, Commerce, Dawsonville, Gainesville, and other surrounding areas.