A jury in Cobb County recently charged a teen with first-degree vehicular homicide after the death of her friend who fell out of a sports utility vehicle. After falling out of the vehicle, the injured passenger was placed in a medically induced coma and died several weeks later. The teen who was driving admitted to consuming alcohol earlier in the day and even smelled of alcohol at the time of the incident.
While the teenager was underage and not legally allowed to purchase alcohol, she is alleged to have gotten a bottle of vodka from fellow minors. At the time the accident occurred, the passenger was hanging out of the window of the vehicle yelling. The passenger then fell out of the vehicle and struck the pavement.
The state of Georgia makes it illegal for a minor under the age 21 to operate a motor vehicle if that person has consumed any amount of alcohol. This law is referred to as a “zero tolerance” law because even if an underage driver is discovered to have had just a few drops of alcohol, he or she can face charges. If you are an underage driver who has been stopped by law enforcement and determined to be drinking alcohol, speak with a skilled attorney right away.
Understand the Penalties Associated with Underage DUIs in Georgia
Underage drivers in Georgia who are charged with DUIs can end up facing very serious penalties. Those who are charged with first time DUI offenses can expect a six-month license suspension if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Drivers who submitted to state-administered chemical substance tests and whose blood alcohol concentration results were between .02 to .08.
- Drivers who were not requested to submit samples for a blood, breath, or urine test.
- Test results that were suppressed by the courts.
There are two additional categories that can result in underage DUI drivers charged with a first time offense facing a 12-month license suspension:
- Drivers who submitted to a chemical substance test and whose blood alcohol concentration was .08 or higher.
- Drivers who refused to submit to a state-administered test.
Be Careful What You Say
The most important step to take when speaking with law enforcement is to remain cooperative. It is the primary responsibility of law enforcement to keep the community safe and there is a risk that responding to a law enforcement angrily can result in much more serious charges. Take some deep breaths if you are pulled over by law enforcement, remain calm, and do not admit guilt under any circumstances.
If you are charged with an underage DUI, you should make sure to document exactly how the law enforcement stop occurred. It is important to write down as many details about the accident as you can remember, including how much you drank and the exact time that you were arrested. It is also important to write down other details including the vehicle’s speed and whether your Miranda rights were read to you upon arrest.
Speak with an Experienced DUI Attorney
Being charged with an underage DUI offense in Georgia can result in some particularly serious penalties. Drivers who face these charges should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC today to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer.