Can a Minor Be Arrested and Charged with DUI in Clemson, South Carolina?

No matter where you live in this country, the legal drinking age is twenty-one (21). There is a reason for this. The government doesn’t think that it’s safe for people under that age to be drinking alcohol. The fear is that young people will take unnecessary risks if they are drinking. This is especially scary when it comes to drinking and driving. Thus, the penalties for a DUI in Clemson for a minor can be severe.

When the legislature in South Carolina wrote the laws pertaining to DUI, they understood that people under the age of 21 do drink. It’s illegal, but nobody’s naïve enough to think it doesn’t happen. And young people are just as likely to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks as anyone else. The problem is that they don’t have the same years of experience driving as people of legal drinking age.

If someone under the age of 21 is pulled over in Clemson, South Carolina, they can be charged with DUI. Of course, the law is a bit different when it comes to DUI for underage driver. The blood alcohol concentration levels are lower for people under 21. And, the penalties are different, especially when it comes to people with provisional driver’s licenses.

The best thing to do if your teenager is charged with DUI is to call an experienced DUI defense attorney in Clemson, South Carolina. They know how to deal with the prosecutor. They also know how to poke holes in the state’s case. They may be the best thing standing between your child and a conviction for DUI.

The Blood Alcohol Concentration for a DUI Under 21 is Lower in South Carolina

Whether or not someone is arrested for DUI typically depends on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The legal limit for any driver is .08. If you take a breathalyzer test and blow a .08 or higher, you will be arrested and charged with DUI in Clemson. And, the higher your BAC, the higher the penalties.

For someone who is under 21, the BAC required for a DUI in Clemson is much lower than .08. Your teenager can be charged with DUI if they have a BAC of .02 or higher. For levels between .02 and 08, the penalties are bad, but not life changing. For example, if It’s your first offense with a BAC under .08, your driver’s license will be suspended for three (3) months. If it’s a second offense, the suspension will be doubled at six (6) months. If the minor refuses to take the breath or chemical test, their license will automatically be suspended for a period of six (6) months. A second refusal within five (5) years will result in a one (1) year suspension.

The Penalties for a Minor’s DUI in Clemson is the Same if Their BAC is .08 of Higher

The law in South Carolina is not special for minors when it comes to a DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher. The way the courts see it, if they are going to drink like an adult, they can be charged like an adult. They’ll also be penalized like an adult. The reason for this is simple. If a 19-year old has just one or two beers, it’s likely that they’ll blow a .02 to a .08. They need to be punished, but not as severely as someone with a BAC of .10 or higher. The courts want to teach them a lesson young and hope that they never drive drunk again.

If a minor blows a .08 or higher, they’ll be subject to stiff penalties. This includes fines, jail time and a suspension of their driver’s license. The penalties for a first offense DUI in Clemson, South Carolina are as follows:

  • BAC of .08 to .10: Fines of $400 as well as anywhere from 48 hours to thirty (30) days in jail. They will also lose their license for at least six (6) months.
  • BAC of .10 to .15: Fines of $500 and anywhere from 72 hours to thirty (30) days in jail. In addition, their license will be suspended for 6 months.
  • BAC of .15 or higher: The fines will be at least $1,000. The jail time will also increase to an amount between thirty (30) and ninety (90) days. If they refuse to take the breath or chemical test, they will have to install an ignition interlock device on their car for at least six (6) months as well.

Your Clemson DUI defense lawyer will do their best to get your teen’s charges reduced or dismissed. They’ll have to negotiate with the prosecutor to do this.  Call today and schedule your initial consultation.

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