Statistically speaking, young drivers are overrepresented in Idaho motor vehicle accidents that involve alcohol. Driving while under the influence is never a good idea, but the high rate of intoxicated teen drivers is especially disturbing.
Studies estimate that about 10% of all high school students have been guilty of drinking and driving at least once and that 20% have been a passenger in the vehicle of an intoxicated driver one or more times. Male teens are only slightly more likely to drink and drive than their female peers, but high school juniors and seniors are significantly more likely to drink and drive than freshmen and sophomores.
Young drivers who have been drinking are dangerous for two reasons: they have less on-the-road experience than older drivers and they are less likely to understand how their body metabolizes alcohol. For this reason, the legal BAC limit for Idaho drivers under age 18 is just 0.02%. Just one drink within the past hour is enough to put most teen drivers over the legal limit. (The legal limit for drivers over age 18 is 0.08%)
Penalties for Drinking and Driving
A teen who is picked up for his or her first DUI offense faces imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension of up to 180 days. If a teen driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, his or her license will be taken away for one year and there will be a $250 civil penalty. The fines must be paid regardless of whether or not the teen driver is currently employed.
If applicable, a minor who receives a DUI may also be charged with possession of alcohol, soliciting alcohol, and/or possession of false identification. If there are passengers in the vehicle who are also underage and intoxicated, the driver may be charged with distributing alcohol to minors. Additional moving violations will apply if the minor broke any traffic laws or got into an accident.
Some insurance companies have a policy of automatically terminating coverage after a DUI, while others will raise the premium to cover the added expense of a high risk policy. Raised rates typically stay in place for three to five years, meaning that one youthful night of fun could end up costing several thousand dollars when all is said and done.
Protect Your Rights
A person who is injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated teen driver may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. The experienced attorneys at Holzer Edwards are dedicated to representing Idaho residents who have been injured due to the negligence of others.