The Minnesota Statutes say anyone under the age of 21 who drives while under the influence of alcohol is guilty of a misdemeanor. The repercussions are severe and far-reaching.
The consequences may not only impact the underage individual but also innocent bystanders and the community. They can include everything from damaging personal relationships to serving jail time.
Underage drivers can face fines, license suspension and imprisonment. These legal consequences can have long-lasting effects on their future, including limited employment opportunities and higher insurance rates. At the very least, intoxicated underage drivers will lose their driver’s license for 30 to 180 days.
One of the most severe consequences is the risk of causing a traffic accident. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination and reaction time, making it a deadly combination when behind the wheel. Accidents caused by underage drinking and driving can lead to serious injuries or fatalities.
The emotional and psychological toll of causing an accident due to underage drinking can be overwhelming. Guilt, remorse and trauma may haunt individuals for years, impacting their mental well-being and relationships with others.
When officers arrest an underage individual for drinking and driving, their family members often bear the brunt of the situation. Parents may experience feelings of shame and disappointment, and families may have to deal with the financial burden of legal fees and increased insurance costs.
The societal consequences of an underage DUI include a tarnished reputation and a negative impact on future prospects. A conviction, especially at a young age, can hinder educational and career opportunities. Many colleges and employers conduct background checks, and a DUI can be a red flag that affects admissions or hiring decisions.
Young individuals must understand the gravity of their choices and the potential consequences not only for themselves but for everyone around them. Prevention and education are key in reducing the prevalence of underage drinking and driving and mitigating its devastating effects.