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What Are the Consequences for Teens Facing DUI Charges in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Jacksboro DUI lawyer

Even though the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, minors all across the country often drink illegally. This can occur due to peer pressure or because the minors have easy access to alcohol or drugs within their home. There are many penalties and punishments when a minor is caught drinking illegally, but if they are caught driving under the influence, there will be even more consequences. They will face not only DUI charges, but they will also lose their driving privileges for a certain amount of time.

Tennessee Underaged DUI Penalties

The state of Tennessee has three statutes to enforce and attempt to eliminate underage drinking and driving. The most severe is the Driving While Impaired statute that affects minor drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Any minor driver caught driving under the influence will have his or her license revoked for one year with no possibility of earning a restricted license. They will also face a $250 fine and service work per the discretion of the court.

The Tennessee Drug Free Youth Act and Underage Possession of Alcohol statutes are punishable in the same way. However, they differ in that the Drug Free Youth Act affects minors starting at age 13 to age 17, whereas the latter statute affects minors aged 18 to 21.

Those minors charged under these statutes face punishments including:

  • First offense: License is suspended for one full year or until the minor turns 17, with the right to apply for early withdrawal of suspension after 90 days.

  • Second offense: License is suspended for two full years or until the minor turns 18, with the right to apply for early withdrawal of suspension after one year.

Under both statutes, a minor can apply for a restricted license immediately after a first offense. Second offenders can receive a restricted license only after serving a one-year term with a suspended license.

Rules for Obtaining a Restricted License

The process for obtaining a restricted license begins with the minor driver presenting evidence to a judge to prove that economic, educational, and/or medical hardship will result in not having a restricted license. According to Tennessee law, after such evidence is presented, a judge can sign an official order for the teen to be issued a restricted license. After that, the motorist must:

  • Pay a $20 license fee.

  • Take the original, signed court order and a copy to a Driver Services Center within 10 days of the order being signed.

  • Drivers under 18 years old also need a Teenage Affidavit and a Compulsory School Attendance form.

A restricted license permits a minor driver to only commute to and from school or work. However, this type of license will not be given if parental or public transportation is an option for a minor with a suspended license.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Drunk Driving Lawyer

In order to convict a minor of driving under the influence, the officer performing a traffic stop must be able to provide evidence that the minor was drunk or drugged. If your son or daughter is charged with a DUI as a minor, you should seek legal counsel on his or her behalf. An experienced attorney from the Law Office of William F. Evans can help defend your minor’s rights and avoid any convictions. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County DUI defense attorney, call 423-449-7980.




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