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Underage DUI in Tennessee

Not only do Tennessee DUI laws address drunk and drugged driving committed by adults who are at least 21 years old, but they also apply to drivers who are underage. While an adult DUI conviction is punishable by harsher penalties compared to an underage DUI conviction, the latter can still carry serious consequences that affect a person’s freedom and future. 

A driver commits an underage DUI by operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .02 percent or while impaired by drugs. The legal limit for adults who are 21 years old is .08 percent. 

If a driver is under 18 years of age, an underage DUI is considered a “delinquent act” in Tennessee. If a driver is at least 18 but younger than 21, then the offense is a misdemeanor. 

Whether an underage DUI is a delinquent act or misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by the following: 

  • Driver’s license suspension for up to one year (ineligible to obtain a restricted license during suspension) 

  • Fines of up to $250 (not including court costs and other fees) 

  • Community service in lieu of jail time 

However, if an underage driver has a BAC of at least .08 percent, he/she will be charged with a standard DUI like an adult. A standard DUI is a misdemeanor that carries a jail term of up to 11 months and 29 days, fines of up to $1,500, and driver’s license suspension for at least one year. 

Lastly, having an underage DUI on your criminal record can make it extremely difficult to find a job, apply to college, or live a normal life. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage DUI in Knoxville, contact Eldridge & Blakney, PC today at (865) 544-2010 to get more than 90 years of combined legal experience on your side. Thousands of clients helped throughout Tennessee! 

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