Many teenagers experiment with alcohol before they reach age 21. Few realize that even a single drink can put them over the legal limit in Tennessee.

To avoid costly penalties, it’s important for parents to talk to their children about underage DUI.

What is the law for underage DUI in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the legal limit for a driver under the age of 21 is 0.02 percent. The limit for an adult is four times higher: 0.08 percent.

The penalties for underage DUI are severe, and may include:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • A $250 fine
  • Added insurance costs that could add up to thousands of dollars
  • A criminal record
  • Possible sanctions from your child’s school or university

Tennessee passed a law to raise the legal limit to 0.08 for underage DUI (and increase the penalties). However, legislators repealed the law in a special session when it stood to lose federal road funding for raising the limit.

Take the time to talk to your child about the consequences of drinking and driving. You may want to consider offering to pay cab fare if your child drinks alcoholic beverages at a party.

If your child is arrested for driving under the influence, letting him or her “face the music” is not the best way to deal with the situation. Don’t let a one-time mistake become a permanent criminal record. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can minimize the damages and expunge (or seal) the arrest from your child’s record.