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How an underage DWI can affect your teen's life

Your teen has been charged with driving while intoxicated. Whether your child has been on a downward slope or this caught you by complete surprise, you may worry about how a DWI charge will affect his or her future. Will it hinder educational and vocational opportunities? Will it harm your teen's emotional well-being, especially if others got hurt in the incident? Is it too late to steer your child back on track? While your concerns are valid, you do not need to give up hope. With the right approach, a DWI will not ruin your teen's life.

Penalties for a first offense in Louisiana

You need to know the penalties your teen may face if convicted. For underage drivers, the penalties usually differ from those an adult may receive. The fines will be lower, and your teen may only have to participate in a substance abuse program and driving improvement program. Your teen will also lose his or her license for 180 days. While a DWI charge will be on your teen's driving record, the court cannot include it in adult DWI charges.

If your teen's blood alcohol level was higher than 0.08 percent, he or she will face the same penalties as an adult drunk driver. This means larger fines, longer license suspension, ignition interlock devices and jail time or community service. There may be additional punishment if blood alcohol level was higher than 0.15 percent, there were other minors in the car or your teen did not follow other traffic laws.

How to fight a DWI conviction

There are things you can do to avoid the lasting consequences of an underage DWI. The first is to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. You need an experienced lawyer to help you through the process so you do not make any mistakes.

A lawyer will examine the circumstances that can invalidate or reduce the charge. These include:

  • If the police had the right to stop your teen
  • If law enforcement followed all procedures correctly
  • How accurate the tests and results were
  • What the best approach is to prevent a second-time offense

Furthermore, adults have a blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, but underage drivers cannot exceed 0.02 percent. Because that amount is quite low, there may be other reasons for the presence of alcohol, such as the use of mouthwash or diagnosis of auto-brewery syndrome. A qualified attorney will know all the factors to look for to increase the likelihood of a good outcome so your teen can still have the future you both hope for.

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