Underage driver drinking alcohol

DUI Laws for Tennessee Minors

Fall has arrived and school is back in session for students. While Friday nights and the weekends typically mean hanging out with friends or attending other gatherings for many students, one place these young adults don’t want to be is in law enforcement’s custody. However, this can be the case if a minor decides to drink and then get behind the wheel.

Any driver under 21 suspected of driving while impaired can be charged with a delinquent act or underage driving under the influence (DUI). While the legal limit blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers 21 and older is .08%, in Tennessee, drivers under 21 have a legal limit of .02%. That limit can be reached by having one standard drink for most young adults and adult drivers.

Penalties for Minors Facing DUI Charges

Depending on what the minor is charged with will determine the potential consequences they could face.

Delinquent Act

If a minor is charged with a delinquent act, it does not necessarily mean that their crime involved alcohol. Other delinquent acts minors could be charged for include:

  • Truancy;
  • Illegal purchase of cigarettes;
  • Vandalism; and,
  • Trespassing.

This charge is typically reserved for minors who are under 18. Additionally, being charged with a delinquent act means that the minor’s case will be handled in juvenile court rather than a typical court.

Penalties for a delinquent act related to DUI include a $250 fine and a driver’s license suspension for one year.

Driving Under the Influence

The adult court system handles cases if a minor is charged with DUI. While the penalties are typically similar (a $250 fine and the driver’s license suspended for one year), this charge can be classified as a Class A misdemeanor which could mean potential jail time.

Don’t Let a DUI Derail Your Future

No matter their age, if a minor is facing an accusation of driving while intoxicated, it’s essential to have legal representation. The Johnson City DUI defense lawyers at Meade Law Group are ready to handle your case and not derail your child’s future. Our team specializes in juvenile cases and is ready to work with you. Contact us online or by phone to set up a consultation so we can get started. (423) 464-7779