If your child has reached an age when they’ll be driving, it’s important to sit down to have a conversation about driving under the influence and how dangerous it can be. You should also discuss with your child that there are real, serious consequences for DUIs, even if they are underage.
In Tennessee, there are specific laws that apply to drug and alcohol-related offenses by minors. These apply to people between the ages of 13 and 17 specifically.
Discussing the penalties from a DUI conviction
One of the first things to discuss after establishing that driving while impaired is dangerous and illegal is that there are real penalties that your child could face under the Drug Free Youth Act. For example, if your child is 16 and commits an offense in the Act, they could lose their license for a year or until age 17 (whichever would be longer) on a first offense. First offenses are generally treated more lightly, so those who offend may be able to seek the early withdrawal of this suspension once 90 days have passed.
For simply possessing alcohol, a minor under the age of 17 can also lose their license for a year. On a second offense, they may lose it for two years.
Driving while impaired is even more serious with a $250 file and a one-year license revocation with no ability to get a restricted license. The court can also require the minor to complete public service work as a part of the punishment.
Strict penalties and laws in Tennessee
Tennessee does have some of the strictest penalties for DUIs in the United States. Since that’s the case, it’s important for you to know your rights and to be aware of how these penalties could impact your child in the future if they are convicted. DUIs may influence your child’s ability to get a job or to access certain financial supports for educational purposes, so it’s essential to look into defending your child if they are facing DUI charges. A good defense may help them avoid a conviction that could have negative consequences well into the future.