Underage drinking is against the law. So is drinking and driving. The combination of the two can have serious long-term repercussions. With prom season just around the corner, the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety warned student drivers and their parents of the serious consequences that underage drinking and driving can have.
Law enforcement officials can place someone under arrest based simply on a presumption that a driver is impaired. The presumption is typically based upon a field sobriety test, such as standing on one leg or walking a straight line. Failure to comply will give police authority to place the driver under arrest, whether or not the young person is actually guilty. Many times the field sobriety test is not an accurate indication of whether the driver is impaired or not.
Even if drivers do not consider themselves impaired, they can be charged with DUI, placed under arrest, handcuffed and brought to jail. At the police station, a driver suspected of impaired driving will have a mug shot and fingerprints taken. All of this will become part of the driver's criminal record. Typically the driver's car is impounded which will be expensive to retrieve. All of these consequences can happen even without a conviction.
A DUI conviction is much more serious than receiving a speeding ticket. The consequences of any criminal conviction can go far beyond just jail or probation.
High school students should be aware that a conviction for DUI may be required to be disclosed on a college application and could affect their acceptance into college. Conviction will also stay on their permanent criminal records and could affect the possibility of future careers in licensed professions.
Students can also lose their driver's licenses. In some cases, this can be a serious result if the students and their families depend on the students' ability to drive themselves to school, part-time job or sports activities. Other serious repercussions of a conviction include mandatory DUI classes and a considerable increase in the cost of car insurance.
Parents and students need to be aware of the costs involved with drinking and driving. If the situation arises in which you are faced with a DUI arrest, a DUI defense lawyer can help protect your future and resolve your criminal defense problems.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Prom warning: A night of drinking will cost you dearly," Harris Blackwood, 30 Mar 2011