Driving under the influence, regardless of your age, is a mistake you don’t want to make. Not only can it result in your arrest, but it can affect your personal life, career, finances and so much more.

DUI as a minor comes with its own set of challenges. In the state of Tennessee, there are several laws you should be aware of if you or your child is dealing with the aftermath of this serious crime.

  • Drug Free Youth Act Offenses: This takes into consideration individuals between the ages of 13 and 17 convicted of a drug or alcohol related crime. Penalties can be as serious as a license suspension of two years or until you reach the age of 18 (for a second offense). Even a first offense results in a suspension of one year or until reaching the age of 17.
  • Driving while impaired: Anyone between the age of 16 and 20 convicted of driving while impaired must pay a $250 fine. This is in addition to a one year license revocation (with no potential for a restricted license). Also, the court has the discretion to impose public service work.
  • Possession of alcohol: Possessing alcohol as a minor is a serious crime, with a first offense resulting in a license suspension of one year or reaching the age of 17. A second offense is even more serious, with a license suspension of two years.

What can you do?

Imagine a situation in which your child is facing one of these serious criminal charges. Although they’re already in a difficult spot, there’s nothing saying that the charge has to lead to a conviction. This is why it’s critical to understand what went wrong, as well as the steps you can take to help protect their legal rights.

The most important thing you can do is obtain legal assistance, as this helps prevent mistakes that could result in a conviction and the most serious consequences. A clear understanding of the laws, defense strategies and court system goes a long way in helping your child fight back and eventually move on with their life.