This is particularly true with underage DUI cases. A DUI can impact a young person’s educational options, work opportunities, and social standing along with criminal penalties.
If your child has been arrested for driving while under the influence, working with an Indianapolis underage DUI lawyer can help you preserve your child’s future. At Hessler Law, we will focus on what led to your child’s underage DUI and finding a way to resolve things favorably.
Benefits of Hiring an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer
Finding out that your child has been arrested for driving under the influence is a difficult situation. You may feel disappointed and angry that your son or daughter made such an unsafe choice and for putting you in a tough position.
Many parents decide that there’s no better teacher than the justice system, believing that criminal charges may be the wake-up call their teenager needs. But this is perhaps one of the worst things you can do if you want your teenager to have a productive future.
Yes, they may learn a lesson if they are convicted of driving under the influence, but it will also limit their future opportunities.
Hiring a lawyer for an underage DUI does not minimize the situation, It merely protects them from the harshest penalties and often permanent consequences. Once the legal aspect is settled, you can always take steps to prevent future run-ins with the law.
Indiana Underage DUI Procedures
Individuals under the age of 21 are held to stricter standards than those over the legal drinking age. For those younger than 21, a blood alcohol level over 0.02 is considered driving under the influence.
If an officer suspects you child of being impaired, they may want to administer roadside field sobriety tests. These are the standard walk-and-turn or one leg stand tests, meant to assess motor skills and coordination. Your son or daughter is not required to submit to field sobriety tests, and there are no driver’s license consequences for refusal.
Likewise, you are not required to submit to a handheld portable breathalyzer test that an officer may want to administer at the scene. This is not a certified test, but the results can be used to establish probable cause of an underage DUI.
The only mandatory test is those covered by Indiana’s implied consent law. Under the law, when you drive a car you implicitly agree to chemical testing when you are suspected of driving under the influence.
These are blood and breath tests performed at the police station when there is already probable cause to support an arrest. A refusal of a certified DUI tests can result in significant penalties and a license suspension.
If your teenager caused any injuries or property damage while under the influence, expect them to face stiffer consequences. Accidents that occur when a driver is under the influence can lead to felony charges, especially if anyone is hurt.
Indiana Underage DUI Penalties and Consequences
DUI penalties largely depend how many DUI convictions an individual has in their past and their BAC.
A first DUI is a Class C misdemeanor. Someone under 21 could face up to 60 days in jail, while a juvenile could face delinquency proceedings. Also, in addition to any fines ordered by the court, an individual with a DUI will have it on their record forever.
The consequences become increasingly more severe with subsequent offenses.
A second DUI can result in a mandatory 5-day jail sentence or 180 days of community service. These requirements double for a third DUI.
Certain factors may put your child at risk for more severe penalties. If their blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher, they will face steeper fines and additional community service hours. If anyone under the age of 16 is in the car while they are driving, they could be convicted of a felony.
Protect Your Child From an Underage DUI Conviction
An underage DUI can impact your child in a variety of ways. When they apply to college, they will likely have to disclose any criminal convictions. This could prevent them from attending the institution of their choice. Even if they do attend college, a DUI conviction may prevent them from pursuing certain majors or fields of employment.
You can also expect a DUI to limit their financial aid opportunities. Many scholarships have a stipulation that prevents students with criminal histories from winning the award.
Your teenager’s DUI is also likely to follow them when they begin their career. They may have to inform potential employers of their misdemeanor or felony every time they apply for a job. This may make it very difficult to find work. Some career paths are completely closed to those with a history of driving under the influence.
They may also be prevented from getting involved in volunteer opportunities. For example, if they are required to undergo a background check to volunteer in a classroom, a conviction could prevent them from volunteering.
While driving under the influence is an irresponsible and unsafe decision, it also shouldn’t hinder your child from reaching their full potential. Hiring an Indianapolis underage DUI lawyer gives them a chance at a fresh start and a brighter future.
Contact Hessler Law Today
At Hessler Law, we believe people deserve the opportunity to tell their story and get second chance. If someone you love is facing underage DUI charges, learn more about your options right away.
Let us explore every possible defense and build a strong case to protect your loved one’s future. With the right support and education, this can become an important learning opportunity in your child’s life.