Numerous legal problems collide when a teenager is found to have been drinking and driving. State DUI laws, underage drinking penalties, and other potential charges such as reckless driving all make for a complicated legal situation, one that can quickly speed into costly territory. While parents should always remain concerned and informed about their teens’ driving habits, a new study offers up statistics that could yield peace of mind.
Figures released this month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that drinking and driving amongst teens ages 16 to 19 has fallen 54 percent since 1991. Although 1 in 10 teens still drives drunk regularly, these numbers point to a growing trend of sober driving on the part of Missouri teens in addition to those nationwide. Education has undoubtedly played a major role in the decrease, but another important legal factor may be in the driver’s seat.
Strict “zero tolerance” laws offer a formidable deterrent for those young drivers who contemplate getting behind the wheel after drinking. The slightest degree of alcohol found in the system of an underage driver can lose them their license, in addition to fines and charges. Refusing to submit to a breath test can also land a teenager in serious legal trouble.
Parents who may allow their teenagers to drink in their own homes stand to face serious sentences if their children are found to be driving while even the slightest bit intoxicated. This convoluted yet very serious network of teen driving laws can quickly become a legal headache. Although fewer teens drive after drinking now than in decades past, charges of intoxicated driving can lead to strict penalties and legal reprimand under zero tolerance laws. In these situations, getting in contact with a strong legal advocate can ensure that the legal rights and options of a teenager and their parents are ensured.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Fewer teens drink and drive study shows,” Leslie Mann, Oct. 31, 2012
- Our firm can help both minors and adults with alcohol-related charges such as DWI and underage drinking. For more information, visit our St. Louis DWI page.