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What happens when your teen gets a DUI?

The teenage years are a time to test boundaries and act impulsively, but some teens go too far when they decide to drink and drive.

As a parent, you want to protect your teen from life-altering legal consequences, but you may not know what to expect.

Penalties for underage drinking and driving

For offenders under 21 in New Jersey, a DUI conviction could lead to the following penalties:

  • License suspension
  • Community service
  • Court-ordered education and treatment

Judges use several factors to determine appropriate sentences, such as blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or if impaired driving causes an accident.

Additional charges

The state may also charge teen drivers with underage consumption, which can lead to greater penalties. It is important to understand the process and remain aware of possible legal outcomes when building a defense against a DUI charge.

However, prosecutors and judges are not intent on ruining the lives of teens. They understand young people make mistakes and while they aim to punish criminals, many realize that a compassionate approach to justice is likely to instill a lifelong respect for the law in a young offender.

How you can help your struggling teen

The best way to prevent a DUI is to avoid drunk driving altogether. Talk to your teen about how impaired driving can affect their long-term plans, from university rejection to difficulty finding employment. If you recognize signs of trouble in your teen, address them before they lead to risky behavior.

Getting a DUI as a young person is not catastrophic, but it can cost your family significant peace of mind.