Underage DWI Lawyer for Memphis

Interestingly, in Tennessee the charge of drunk driving is usually called DUI (Driving Under the Influence), but when it involves someone under 21 it is called DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). This charge can actually be divided into two groups: adults who are under the age to legally drink alcohol, and juveniles. Let’s look at both.

Underage DWI 18-20

Drivers age 18-20 convicted of underage DWI face a one year license suspension and $250 fine. There is no restricted license option, so offenders will lose their license for a year with no exceptions. There is no jail time or probation with underage DWI, but the implied consent law does apply. This means that if the driver refuses to take a chemical test for alcohol or drug content in the blood, he or she will lose their license for a year. Even if she “beats” the DWI charge and is not convicted, she will lose her license because she did not take the test as requested by law enforcement.

Juvenile DWI

Juvenile DWI in Tennessee involves drivers under the age of 18. Being a juvenile crime, it’s considered a delinquent act and is handled in juvenile court rather than adult court. Like adult underage DWI, it’s punishable by a one year license suspension and $250 fine.

One of the biggest differences between underage DWI and adult DUI is the threshold for legal or “per se” intoxication. With adults it’s .08% blood alcohol level, but with underage drivers it’s just .02%. Obviously, then, it does not take much for a young driver to be charged. Additionally, if the state wishes, it can charge him with DUI rather than underage DWI. This carries many additional penalties including mandatory jail time and fines.

For young men and women just starting out in life, a drunk driving conviction can be devastating for future chances at employment or getting into school. If you’ve been charged with this offense, your first call should be to a Memphis DUI lawyer.

Click here to read Tennessee Criminal Law Articles on Restricted Licenses