An OUI charge can follow you for a long while, and penalties can impact your life for years, depending on the number of offenses you have accumulated. These hardships are even greater if you are underage at the time of the incident.
For drivers under 21, OUI penalties are especially strict. Know what to expect if you are facing your first offense.
Blood alcohol content
Most drivers must exceed 0.08% on a blood alcohol test for an officer to consider them drunk. If you are underage, this number is much lower. A BAC of just 0.02% is enough for an initial arrest. This is due to the fact that a person under 21 should not have been drinking at all.
Stricter regulations mean that it is much easier for a young person to get caught driving under the influence. Though it depends on your weight, many people will test 0.02% after just one drink.
Regardless of your age, a failed BAC test results in an automatic suspension of your license. The duration is 180 days for most drivers, but it extends even longer for underaged drivers experiencing their first offense.
Your license may remain suspended an extra six months if you are under 21. If you are under 18, it may be up to one year. Further, drivers who refuse to submit to a BAC test face even stiffer penalties. A first-time underaged driver can lose his or her license for up to three years.
In the state of Massachusetts, officials use educational programs to help underaged drunk drivers. Completion of one of these programs is often a requirement for young offenders, but many are able to shorten suspension periods as a result.
Keep in mind that additional penalties may also include monetary fines or the installation of an ignition interlock device. The important thing to remember is that underaged drunk drivers are technically breaking two laws at once, which is why the punishments are often stricter. If you are facing a false accusation, it is important to fight back to avoid these consequences.