Indiana has strict laws when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If your child is caught driving while under the influence of alcohol as a minor, it can have severe consequences. It’s important to understand Indiana underage DUI laws, what the potential consequences are, and why you should seek legal representation for your child immediately.
Understanding Indiana Underage DUI Laws
Driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is illegal in all 50 states. However, the laws surrounding DUI for underage drivers are especially strict.
In Indiana, individuals under the age of 21 who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 percent or higher can be charged with an OWI offense. This is because Indiana has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. The laws related to minor consumption in Indiana are intended to deter those under the age of 18 from consuming alcohol and protect the state’s youth from the potential consequences of underage drinking.
Underage DUI in Indiana for Minors
Unlike adult DUI charges, which are processed through criminal proceedings, underage DUI in Indiana is usually handled through a juvenile delinquency proceeding when the individual is under the age of 18. Juvenile actions are classified as civil proceedings, as the aim is not to punish the minor but to redirect future behavior. Also, the Indiana Juvenile Justice System focuses more on rehabilitating the minor and the protection of a child’s rights than punishment.
Offending drivers between the ages of 18 and 21, however, face Class C misdemeanor charges under Indiana Code § 9-30-5-8.5, and these defendants are subject to the same penalties as any other legal adult.
Potential Consequences for Indiana Underage DUI
A DUI charge for a minor in Indiana is not something to take lightly. The consequences can affect your child’s future in significant ways. The potential consequences of underage drinking and driving in Indiana can include the following:
- Fines, court costs, and legal fees;
- Loss of driving privileges;
- Required participation in drug and alcohol treatment programs;
- Probation and community service;
- Potential jail or detention time; and
- A permanent criminal record that could impact future college admission or employment opportunities.
These consequences can be lasting and may significantly impact your child’s future. It is wise to seek legal representation from a qualified underage DUI defense attorney like Josiah J. Swinney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. in the greater Indianapolis, Indiana area.
An experienced defense attorney can help you understand your child’s rights and options while working to minimize the impact of these charges on their future. If your child is a minor, an Indiana juvenile defense lawyer can help you navigate the juvenile justice system in a way that protects your family and your child’s future.
Indiana Underage DUI Defense
If you are facing an underage OWI charge in Indiana, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Josiah J. Swinney has deep knowledge of underage drinking and driving defense in Indiana, particularly in Carmel and Fishers. He also has a strong understanding of the juvenile court system and will work to protect your legal rights and interests.
Some of the potential defenses that may be available to you include challenging the validity of any evidence collected, arguing that the traffic stop or arrest was unlawful, or questioning whether you actually consumed alcohol and if so, whether your BAC was above the legal limit.
However, please note that defending against an underage OWI charge can be complex and requires a thorough knowledge of the laws related to underage drinking in Indiana and the juvenile court system. That is why it is critical to work with an experienced attorney.
Risk of Increased Penalties for Repeat Offenders
If your child is charged with a subsequent underage DUI, they may face even more substantial penalties than if it was a first offense. Repeat offenders may be subject to longer periods of driver’s license suspension, higher fines, and even imprisonment.
How an Indiana Juvenile Defense Lawyer Can Help
An experienced Indiana juvenile defense lawyer can help parents and their minor children navigate the legal system and protect their rights in underage DUI cases. From scrutinizing the legality of the stop to negotiating a plea deal, a juvenile defense lawyer can minimize the impact of an underage DUI charge.
For underage drivers who are no longer legally considered minors, it is important to consult with a skilled DUI defense attorney who can work with you throughout the Indiana criminal defense process.
If you or a loved one is facing an Indiana underage DUI charge or any other impaired driving offense, do not hesitate to contact Josiah J. Swinney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. At your initial consultation, we will discuss your case and provide details about your legal options. Call us today at 317-770-0000 or complete our online contact form to get started.