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Teenage Drunk Driving

While some teenagers may not look at drinking and driving as a big deal, many never realize the danger they are putting themselves in, until it is too late. Approximately 8 teenagers die every day in this country due to alcohol abuse -related accidents, with over 7,000 teens either dying or being seriously injured in DUI accidents each year. While it may not seem like a big deal to some teens to drive home after having a few drinks, they may be surprised to learn that even as little as one to two drinks can be enough to significantly impair driving. Not only do you risk possible harm to yourself and others, but you also put yourself at risk for serious legal consequences such as getting a DUI or DWI.

DUI and DWI

DUI and DWI’s are both serious legal offenses that involve the consumption of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle. Both penalties can carry significant consequences such as loss of license, large fine, and possible jail time. More than one DUI or DWI offenses may illicit mandatory jail time as well as larger fines and the possibility of a lifelong ban of driving. But what are the differences between DUI and DWI and how do they relate to teenagers?

While not all states make a legal differentiation between DUI and DWI, the states that do may offer different penalties for each offense. The main difference between the two is that DUI stands for driving “under” the influence of drugs or alcohol, while DWI stands for driving “while” intoxicated or driving while impaired. In some states a DWI is a lesser offense than a DUI and might come with lesser fines and penalties. In some states, the individual can plead down to a DWI, as long as they meet the prerequisite qualifications.

teen-driverTeenage Drunk Driving Laws and Consequences

It is important for teens who engage in drunk driving or alcoholism to know that the vast majority of states have a zero tolerance policy for underage drunk driving. Because teens are not legally allowed to consume alcohol of any kind, if any teen gets pulled over with even the smallest amount of alcohol in their system, they will automatically lose their license for 90 days and could still get charged with a DUI or DWI offense even if their blood alcohol level was below the legal limit. If a teen gets a second offense before the age of 21, this will automatically lead to a license suspension of at least 1-2 years, as well as a possible jail sentence, probation, fines and a misdemeanor criminal record.

If you’re a teen or young adult and you’re planning on consuming alcohol, make sure you have a sober friend with you that can drive you home. If not, call your parents, or a brother or sister for a ride. While your parents may not be happy that you were drinking, they would much rather pick you up from your friend’s house instead of picking you in jail, or even worse, the morgue.

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