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Under 21 DUI Rules

George Bernard Shaw famously said, "youth is wasted on the young." But, in Georgia, when it comes to DUI laws, the youth are penalized (heavily) for their youth.

Georgia's DUI laws define "minors" as anyone who has not yet reached 21 years of age. Under Georgia's DUI law (40-6-391(k)(1)), "a person under the age of 21 shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while the person's alcohol concentration is 0.02 grams or more." 

Criminal Penalties for Under 21 Drivers

  1. At least 24 hours in jail
  2. 40 hours of community service
  3. 12 months on probation
  4. Drug screening
  5. 20 hour Risk Reduction Program (aka DUI School)
  6. $300 minimum in fines

DUI License Suspensions for Under 21 Drivers

Beyond the criminal penalties, the Georgia Department of Driver Services imposes its own penalties on under 21 DUI drivers. DDS will suspend the Georgia driver's license of driving privileges of a minor as follows:

  1. If your BAC was between .02 and .08, you will receive a 6 month ‘hard' suspension with no work permit. (Ordinarily, a person convicted of DUI can get a work permit so they're not totally up the creek when it comes to driving). 
  2. If your BAC was above .08, you will receive a whopping 12 month ‘hard' suspension with no work permit.
  3. If you refused to be tested, you will also will receive the 12 month 'hard' suspension without a work permit
  4. If you were convicted of DUI Drugs, you will also will receive the 12 month 'hard' suspension without a work permit
  5. If you plead to DUI Less Safe, you will receive a 6 months 'hard' suspension without a work permit

What if my under 21 DUI gets reduced to Reckless Driving?

Ordinarily, getting a DUI reduced to Reckless Driving saves a person's driver's license. Not so for under 21 DUI drivers. 

For someone under 21 who "wins" their DUI with a Reckless Driving charge reduction, their license is still suspended for 6 months! However, slick DUI lawyers noticed that the law has an exception (meaning you can avoid the 6 months suspension). The Department of Driver Services Court Manual states, "Note: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 40-5-57.1(e), a suspension shall be imposed based on the person's age on the date of the conviction giving rise to the suspension." That means, even if you got arrested for your DUI when you were under 21, if you plead it to Reckless Driving afteryou turn 21, you won't have the license suspension!

And, if you plead to DUI after you turn 21, you will be able to get a work permit (no one year hard suspension)!

What if I am under 21, but DUI is for DUI Drugs (not DUI Alcohol)?

Unfortunately, any DUI counts for purposes of the suspension. That means, if you get a DUI Drugs (not alcohol) your license will be suspended by DDS for 12 months with no work permit.

See O.C.G.A. 40-5-57.1(a): "Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the driver's license of any person under 21 years of age convicted of hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Code Section 40-6-270, racing on highways or streets, using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, reckless driving, any offense for which four or more points are assessable under subsection (c) of Code Section 40-5-57, or a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 shall be suspended by operation of law as provided by this Code section."

If I'm under 21, what driving offenses will result in a suspension of my license?

• Hit and run or Leaving the scene of an accident, O.C.G.A. §40-6-270
• Racing on highways or streets, O.C.G.A. §40-6-186
• Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, O.C.G.A. §40-6-395
• Reckless driving, O.C.G.A. §40-6-390
• Any offense for which four (4) or more points are assessable under O.C.G.A. §40-5-57(c), which includes: Improper passing on a hill or a curve, O.C.G.A. §40-6-45(a)(1);Unlawful passing of a school bus, O.C.G.A. §40-6-163; Exceeding the speed limit by 24-mph or more, O.C.G.A. §40-6-181; Aggressive driving, O.C.G.A. §40-6-397; and of course Driving Under the Influence, O.C.G.A. §40-6-391

If you're under 21 and facing a DUI charge, it is absolutely critical that you hire a competent DUI lawyer to guide you. Shoot us a message or call us at 770.249.4405 , we're standing by to hear from you. This is your (young) life, let us fight for it!

This is your life. Let us fight for it.

If you are facing criminal charges, you are in the right place. Give us a call at 770.249.4405, or send us a message.