If your son or daughter is under age 21 (the legal drinking age in Indiana) and gets behind the wheel of a car to drive after consuming alcohol, there’s a lot at stake. Such incidents not only can have immediate repercussions but can also have implications for the future. Some teenagers who drink believe they can legally operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is below .08; however, that’s not the case. Throughout Indiana, the police can take a person under age 21 into custody for OWI if his or her BAC is .02 or higher.
At .08 or higher, the court will penalize a minor arrested for suspected drunk driving as an adult if convicted. In this case, your teen would have a criminal misdemeanor on his or her record. If, after an arrest, your son or daughter were to refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, the court would suspend his or her driver’s license.
Understanding implied consent laws for OWI in Indiana
If a police officer asks your teen to take a Breathalyzer test following an arrest, non-compliance activates an automatic one-year license suspension. When a person signs a driver’s license, he or she agrees to take a breath test upon arrest. This is known as “implied consent.” It is possible to request a hearing to try to obtain a hardship license, which is a court-approved license that enables the holder to keep driving, such as to commute to and from work.
Insurance premiums may skyrocket after an OWI arrest
Car insurance premiums typically increase when a teenage driver incurs a drunk driving conviction. If your son or daughter attends college on a scholarship, an OWI might trigger a revocation. In fact, depending on the school, a student facing an OWI conviction might receive an expulsion.
Getting a teen help when OWI charges have disrupted your lives
Many Indiana parents understand what it’s like to have a minor son or daughter with a substance abuse problem. While not every teenager who faces OWI charges is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are rehabilitation resources available for those who are. A good place to start to find your child help is to speak with the social worker connected to his or her case.
It’s also helpful to connect with legal support to ensure that you understand how the juvenile justice system works, what Indiana laws are regarding underage OWI, and what your parental rights are as far as being present during questioning and other important issues. With a strong support network in place, you can help your teen obtain as positive an outcome as possible in court.