What Happens When DUI is Under 21?


Turning 21 years old is considered a milestone for most. It indicates that a person is no longer a child and, in some countries, is the legal age for individuals to purchase, possess, or even consume alcohol. It is a cause for many to celebrate their 21st birthday explicitly. If you have been arrested for an OWI in Indiana, call Indiana DUI attorney Kevin Karimi at (317) 676-4747.

Indiana Zero Tolerance DUI laws prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from consuming or purchasing alcohol due to the legal implications that may result from irresponsible consumption. There are different standards, and penalties for underage DUI’s exercised in many countries and states. These laws are meant to discourage the purchase, possession, or even consumption of alcoholic beverages.

First-time Underage DUI Offenders

There is zero tolerance for a person under the age of 21. Suppose they are caught driving with even a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.01. In that case, they will be convicted of a DUI and driving an automobile with a schedule I or II controlled matter in their body or driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

Although first-time offenses are deemed misdemeanors, they are punishable as guided by DUI laws for those under 21. The punishment aims to discourage minors from participation in alcohol-related activities.

A first-time violation of DUI laws results in a license suspension for at least 30 days. Penalties may include license revocation and mandatory enrollment in a substance abuse program. Other punishments for a first-time offender include a fine of up to $500 and involvement in compulsory community service for 20 to 40 days.

When the BAC level in a person records 0.08%, the person is not permitted to drive. A DUI who tests this percentage is deemed legally unfit for the road, and dire consequences follow.

Second-time DUI Offenders Under 21

The punishment for a second DUI under 21 includes a fine of up to $1000 and 40-60 days of community service. Depending on the circumstances of the second DUI, the community service may be between 60-80 hours.

Other countries penalize the second time DUI under 21 offender to license suspension for not less than 360 days, ten days in prison, and higher fines. The offender is required to attend a DUI prevention program during the suspension period.

Following the arrest of a minor for DUI, administrative penalties that are license-related are also imposed. When the offender gets presented in a court of law, criminal penalties are set on top of the administrative decrees.

DUI Penalties

The two significant administrative penalties imposed on a DUI under 21 are license suspension and specialized driving privileges.

  • License suspension: Any DUI driver who fails a chemical test or tests a BAC of 0.08% qualifies to have their license suspended. The refusal to submit test results to have a more extended suspension period. However, the person’s driving license gets reinstated if the criminal charge is dismissed. Similarly, the reinstatement is affected if the offender was proved not guilty of the offense applied.

If the DUI defendant gets convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, they get up to 60 days license suspension. A Class A misdemeanor offender gets up to one-year license suspension, whereas a level 6 felony DUI gets six months to two and a half years license suspension.

Failing a chemical test is credited towards court suspension, while a defendant who refused a chemical test is not eligible to receive credits towards court suspension.

  • Specialized driving privileges: A DUI under 21 gets specialized driving privileges to continue driving even during the suspension period. To achieve this, the offender is required to fit an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This lock gets granted between 180 days and two and a half years. This privilege applies only to an offender who fails a chemical test.

However, an offender whose driving license gets suspended for refusing to submit a chemical test is not qualified to drive during the suspension period until it is over.

The victim’s impact program requires all DUI under 21 offenders to attend and pay for a victim impact program (VIP). This program consists of involvement in a public forum where people who have been affected by DUI drivers give an address to the offenders.

Avoid A DUI Under 21

Facing DUI as an adult is extremely difficult, let alone dealing with the consequences as a minor. If you’re wondering what happens with a DUI under 21, the answer is nothing good! Hardship and severe penalties will have you regretting any decision to get involved with alcohol. It’s important that if you have an alcohol or drug problem, connect with a drug treatment program and possibly look into a twelve-step program. We are here to be your OWI defense attorney if you need a criminal defense, just call us at (317) 676-4747.