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Under 21 and facing a DUI? Here are things you ought to know

Imagine having a rough week in school. Your English Literature professor and Calculus professor both had tests on the same day and after days of intense studying, you are ready to blow off some steam. You are still a few months shy of your 21st birthday, so you drive to your friend's apartment in Boulder to unwind with a few beers.

After a few hours of commiserating with your classmates who are also unsure about the answer to number five on that horrendous Calculus test, you decide to call it a night and head home. While you did throw back a few drinks, you do not feel drunk nor incapable of driving the ten minutes over to your apartment, so you climb in the driver's seat, start the engine and pull out onto the road. Unfortunately, it was not long before you found yourself in the back of a police car and on your way to jail for drunk driving.

In Colorado, like in most other states, a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious matter. It becomes even more serious if you are under the legal drinking age. The information below is what you can expect if you are under 21 and receive a DUI.

BAC level

For individuals over the age of 21, the blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08 percent. For people under 21, the BAC is much less. For example, if your BAC is between 0.02 percent and 0.05 percent, the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your license for one year.

2nd offense

A second drunk driving offense while under the age of 21, with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.05 percent, is a Class 2 traffic misdemeanor. You will lose your license for a year for this offense as well.

Other penalties

In addition to the above, a minor can also face the same consequences for a DUI that an adult would face. For example, a person under 21 can end up with jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, probation and community service. You may also have to drive with an interlock device on your car once you receive a provisional license or when your license is no longer suspended.

If you are under 21 and facing a DUI charge, a conviction could affect your personal life, your pocketbook and even your student financial aid. It is vital to remember that you can still fight back against the charges with the right defense.

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