In the state of South Carolina every driver can be charged and convicted of a DUI. This includes underage drivers or drivers that are below the age of 21 and underage DUIs can have serious consequences. A conviction can occur if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or if they are under the influence of alcohol and or drugs while driving. A driver that is found guilty of the offence will face the same consequences regardless of how old they are.
South Carolina’s laws also prohibit drivers that are under the age of 21 and have a BAC of 0.02% from driving.
When an underage motorist drives under the influence of alcohol they can get charged with a standard DUI or an underage DUI. The arresting officer or police office has the task of choosing the offense that they will cite the individual with. However, if charged for an underage DUI in South Carolina after being caught driving with a BAC of approximately 0.02% but is also less that 0.08% you can cited for an underage DUI.
A big number of young drivers in South Carolina die annually as a result of vehicle collisions. A high percentage of these deaths are alcohol-related. An arrest for a teenager who has been involved in a DUI related incidence can be traumatizing due to their inexperience. Juvenile defendants need the services of a South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney. The lawyer will help defend their legal rights throughout the process.
What Is The Legal Process for an Underage DUI Case?
An underage DUI is handled differently compared to an adult DUI. For instance unlike a standard DUI that will be handled in a criminal court an underage DUI is handled under the SCDMV (department of motor vehicles) administratively. What this means is that the case does not involve trial process or a judge and after a judgment is passed it will not result in a criminal conviction.
After an administrative action is filed if the plaintiff has an objection it should be filed within 30 days. It is important to get in touch with an experienced Greenville DUI lawyer if you were stopped for an underage DUI.
The Penalties for an Underage Driver in South Carolina
Even if an underage DUI will not result in court fines or even jail time there will be consequences. After the conviction has been passed the accused may have to pay high expenses as a result of the license penalties as well as treatments that are required.
Learn More: What to Do After a DUI in Greenville
In the case where a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, the police officer will issue them with a suspension notice that will indicate that their driver’s license has been immediately suspended. If the individual has a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or higher it will lead to them being issued a 3-month suspension. After a second offense they will get a six-month suspension. If the underage driver had refused to take a chemical test they will have their driving privileges suspended for a period of one year and six months respectively depending on whether it is a first time DUI or second offense.
Every individual that has been cited as a result of underage drinking or drinking and driving is required to enroll in the Alcohol and drug safety action program or an alcohol prevention education program. The person taking this program is required to follow the recommended treatment and to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation.
Fighting an Underage DUI In South Carolina
It is possible to challenge the suspension that has been issued in some instances. Even so, there is need for a consent hearing to be requested within 30 days from the date when the arrest happens. During the hearing the driver can challenge certain things. Your Greenville juvenile crime lawyer can challenge if the arrest was lawful, the accuracy of the machine, and if the driver actually refused to take the test.
What Happens if Police Find Alcohol in The Car I Am in?
As an underage individual who is in possession of alcohol you can be charged with underage possession of alcohol. Even if you are in the passenger seat of the vehicle and are in possession of alcohol you can still get charged. You may not get charged for a DUI but you will be charged for possession of alcohol. Possession of alcohol can be determined if you are holding a beer in your hand.
In the case where you know that there is the presence of alcohol or an alcoholic beverage and you are in a position where you have dominion or control over the alcohol you can be charged with constructive possession. As a result you are likely to pay a fine of $100 up to $200. Also, you can spend 30 days in jail or even pay the fine and spend the 30 days in jail as well.
Contact Touma & Fedalei to Consult an Experienced Attorney
At Touma & Fedalei, we have represented underage drivers in drunk driving as well as any other alcohol or drug-related offense. We would like to offer you legal advice regarding the underage drinking offense you are facing. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers will listen to you and offer legal services aimed at helping you get the best possible outcome.