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Underage DUI: Helping Your Teen


teen who got a DUI

Drinking alcohol is legal for individuals over the age of twenty-one in America. Hence, any teenager that drinks alcohol is effectively breaking the law. Of course, it is highly common for young people to experiment with drugs and/ or alcohol during adolescence. However, driving under the influence of alcohol can be a life threatening choice, for the driver as well as any other person that is driving on the road with him or her. DUI is an acronym of “driving under the influence.” A member of law enforcement gives a DUI to individuals who are driving with a breath alcohol content of 0.08 for drivers over the age of 21 in the United States. If a teenager is pulled over and is suspected of drinking they will be subject to a BAC breath test. In situations where alcohol is detected, the teen will be taking into custody and their vehicle will be towed.

DUI Penalties

Any individual that drives while drunk pose serious threats to themselves and others. Further, there are a number of additional possible legal penalties for individuals, including teens, which are convicted of a DUI. Some of them could include the following:

  • Suspended license
  • Revoked license
  • Paying a large fine
  • DUI noted on one’s driving record
  • Sentenced to jail
  • If the DUI resulted in injury and/ or homicide, the teen may be sentenced to time in prison
  • In some states, an individual must use a license plate clearly indicating that the driver has obtained one or more DUIs

Although some teenagers may be able to get their DUI expunged from their permanent record, others, even with the help of excellent attorneys will not. It is important to note that each state is different, and handles DUIs somewhat distinctly. However, the severity of the situation, without taking legal matters into account, remains the same across the board: driving drunk can lead to death. 

How To Help

Part of being a parent is allowing your child the space to safely learn difficult lessons. Providing your teen with the knowledge and tools to effectively navigate an array of situations, teaching your child the importance of safety and helping your teen to foster practicing good judgment are all par for the course of parenting. Even so, your teen will inevitably make poor choices and must learn to face the consequences, as this is imperative to the growth and development of any adolescent. However, the mere danger of making this choice, points to the urgency and immediate need for action. Teenagers that are convicted of a DUI must be held accountable for their actions and are often obliged to honor the sentencing of the courts. Many states have specific drug and alcohol rehab programs for teens that are first time offenders, to allow the young person a chance to attend treatment before being faced with the full penalties for a DUI. Encouraging your teenager to respect the process and heed the courts decision will likely be the most helpful way you can support your teen. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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