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What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI?

Posted in Our Blog on June 4, 2019

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are damaging for adults because they impact their driving record for several years to life, depending on the state doling out the charge. For minors, a DUI charge is typically not as severe due to their minor-status, but it still comes with repercussions. Specific laws are in place in Louisiana defining what driving under the influence looks like and the consequences that follow. A New Orleans car accident attorney can clear up the specifics of these charges. Louisiana specifically offers a unique stance on underage consumption of alcohol.

What Results in a DUI Charge?

Louisiana defines intoxicated driving under the following criteria:

  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
  • Operating a vehicle while your BAC (blood alcohol content) tests at .08 or more.
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of one or more mind-altering substances, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of unregulated drugs, even with a prescription.

DWI Charges

A DUI charge is not the only charge an officer can give to you. Even if you do not obtain a .08 BAC through a breathalyzer test, the officer can charge you with DWI (driving while impaired) if the officer observes that your behavior is indicative of impairment. In Louisiana, the court system defines a DWI for minors as having a BAC of between .02 and .08. After establishing a .08 BAC this charge scales up to an adult offense.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Minors

Louisiana permits its minor residents to consume alcohol in private residences as long as no entity is selling the alcohol, and the minor’s parents consent to their underage drinking. As mentioned above, the state considers any BAC level that registers past .08 an adult offense, though the punishment tiers for minors differ slightly because of their age. This law is strict, and scales in penalties the same way typical adult laws progress when considering additional DUI offenses. In addition, minors must submit to sobriety tests under Louisiana’s zero tolerance laws.


Driving while impaired comes with consequence, with each additional offense adding to the punishment.

The first offense comes with a $100 – $250 fine along with the following:

  • Substance abuse and driver’s education training, which are mandatory for the impaired driver to attend.
  • This first offense can also come with jail time if the context and officer deem it necessary.

The second offense comes with a $150 – $500 fine along with the following:

  • 10 days of jail time or probation with 10 days of community service.
  • The potential for substance abuse screening
  • The potential for enrollment in substance abuse treatment programs

How Will a DUI Impact My Future?

Driving under the influence as an adult will mark your driving record for a long time. Those who have and/or request access to this information for jobs or schooling will see that you committed with this offense.

As a minor, the underage DUI penalty system does not carry into adulthood. For instance, if you had two DUI charges before turning 18, and an officer pulls you over as an adult for the same charge, the law will not allow the officer to count it as your third offense. Basically, you get a do-over. However, any underage DUI charges do appear on your driving record and will not go away until the same amount of time it takes for the removal of an adult DUI charge. In Louisiana, this can be indefinite, though you can submit a plea. Chances are, you won’t be able to erase this mark from your record. The state of Louisiana takes underage drinking seriously. And while the law does permit it legally under specific guidelines, it is not merciful when minors attempt to drink and drive. Louisiana offers punishment that reflects a scaled-down version of their adult DUI charge system, making it necessary for minors to consume alcohol responsibly.