Teens Who Drink and Drive

Teens and alcohol don’t mix and very often it seems that teens are driving don’t mix either; so what about those teens that do both – drink and drive?

Underage DUI’s

Renee Silverman
Renee Silverman

Teens and young adults under the age of 21 are not legally permitted to drink alcohol and no one of any age should get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. When both of these laws are broken at once and teens make the dangerous choice to drink and drive, the statistics can get ugly. Some of the facts stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:

• “One in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives.

• Young drivers (ages 6-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration [BAC] of .08%.

• 85% of teens in high school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank [more than 5 alcoholic drinks within a couple hours]”

Penalties for teens who drink and drive

Not only do teens need to worry about the dangers of alcohol on a young brain and the messy combination mixing alcohol with driving, teens who are caught driving drunk can expect certain penalties as well. These penalties can include a fine too large for any after school job to afford as well as 48 hours of house arrest or even detention along with probation. Teens who drink and drive can usually expect to lose their driver’s license for anywhere from 6 months until they turn 21 years old. They are also expected to attend alcohol abuse classes.

Not worth it

Drink and Drive
Photo by: Jono Haysom

Making the choice to drink and drive is a choice with more disadvantages than any buzz is worth. If that bad choice is made, it is important to understand how teens fit into the legal system. Teenagers who are facing charges in juvenile court for minor consumption of underage DUI should be represented by a juvenile defense attorney. Those who are facing criminal charges with the possibility of being charged as an adult should speak with a criminal defense attorney. The best bet would be to find an attorney who can handle anything from a juvenile misdemeanor to an adult felony for any charge accrued by a teen.

Juvenile Recidivism in Utah

When a juvenile is arrested shortly after being released for a previous offense, it is known as recidivism and continues to be a problem among the youth in Utah.

More than half re-offend

According to a study done by the Utah Criminal Justice Center in 2013, over half of all juvenile offenders return to incarceration within a year of being released from either community placements or secure facilities. The purpose of juvenile offender programs and detention facilities should be to help assess the needs of youth and get them the help they need to ensure the youth are capable of living in the community with a lowered risk of further criminal charges. If half of the youth are returning, the programs are not working.

Causes of juvenile recidivism in Utah

There are several possible causes for juvenile recidivism in Utah; the study by the Utah Criminal Justice Center along with other sources highlights a few of the key components that are consistently lacking among all types of treatment options put forth by the Juvenile Justice Services of Utah.

• Lack of continued mental health and substance abuse screening. Juvenile offenders will often go through initial mental health and substance use screening, yet these assessments should be continued at least biannually throughout the youth’s incarceration or detention to ensure they are receiving the adequate treatment for their specific needs to reduce their risk of recidivism.

• Communication gaps. The Juvenile Justice Services and the Juvenile Courts need to ensure that all information pertaining to a juvenile individual is shared entirely to ensure that all the needs of the youth are met to help them benefit fully from their treatment which in turn should help reduce some cases of recidivism.

• Adequate training for staff. All staff employed by the Juvenile Justice Services, from those who work in early intervention to those at the detention facilities should receive training on a regular basis to help them effectively use the results of all assessments to understand a youth’s risk level as well as their specific needs and how to incorporate treatment to fulfill those needs.

• Utilizing programs that work. There are several different programs available for youth through the Juvenile Justice Services. Some of them have a better track record than others. Those programs that are failing to successfully reintroduce youth into the community without a high risk of recidivism should not be used as often as they are.

Research options and be informed

Parents with youth who have been arrested for an offense need to speak to a juvenile defense attorney immediately to discuss not only defense options, but also effective treatment programs that may need to be implicated to help the youth avoid recidivism.

Potential Consequences for Utah Juveniles Who are Found Guilty in Juvenile Court

Photo: KeithBurtis

There are a variety of potential consequences awaiting Utah juveniles who have been found guilty of committing some type of offense. A juvenile court judge has the ability to determine which consequences, if any, should be handed out to an individual youth.

Fines

Utah juveniles may find themselves responsible for paying one or more fines; the amount(s) would tend to be based on the offense(s) committed by the juvenile.

Written Assignments

Some probations officers might ask a youth to write a letter of apology to the victim and/or a report regarding their behavior.

Restitution

If a youth and his family are unable to come up with the cash to pay the juvenile’s restitution, they can apply for the youth to be put on a work detail–that money earned would then go to the victim.

Counseling

Counseling may be ordered for some Utah juveniles; the court can also order psychological evaluations to use in determining the best treatment for kids.

Community Service

This consequence can be used instead of making a juvenile offender pay fines.

Detention

Because of the severity of their offenses, some Utah juveniles are sent to a juvenile detention facility to serve a specified period of time. Home detention may also be a possible consequence.

Why Your Child Needs an Attorney

If your child is charged with committing any offense, he needs to be represented by a Utah juvenile defense attorney to make sure that he’s treated fairly and respectfully. The last thing you need at a difficult time is to try and figure out how to navigate the confusing world of juvenile justice.

Do yourself and your child a favor and contact an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Utah Teen Arrested After He Shoots Friend

A Utah teen has been taken into custody following an accidental shooting that left his friend with a bullet in his stomach.

Photo: J BrewWhat Happened?

The teens were outside a West Valley City apartment complex when the shooting occurred. A 16-year-old allegedly tried to shoot a gun towards the ground but it didn’t discharge. At some point, the gun went off and a 15-year-old ended up worse for the wear. It’s believed that his injury isn’t life-threatening.

The 16-year-old Utah teen was taken into custody and booked into a local juvenile detention facility. He’s being investigated for possession of a firearm and discharge of a firearm.

Utah Kids and Guns

According to Utah law, a minor under the age of 18 may not be in possession of a dangerous weapon unless he:

• Has a parent or guardian’s permission to have the weapon or
• Is accompanied by a parent or guardian while he has the weapon

Failure to obey this law can result in a class B misdemeanor charge the first time. If it happens any other times, the charge will increase to a class A misdemeanor.

Discharging a gun is addressed all on its own. There are several places it’s illegal to shoot a gun, including:

• From any vehicle
• Around highways
• At road signs
• At railroad equipment or signs
• Without written permission of the owner of property within 600 feet of a house, dwelling or any other building

It’s a class B misdemeanor to disobey this law, and a person may have his driver’s license revoked, suspended or denied if he commits this crime.

This particular case sounds like it was likely just an accident, that no harm was actually intended. However, it’s still in the Utah teen’s best interest to have expert legal representation in any court hearing or other aspects of his case.

Talk to a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child has been arrested for committing any offense, don’t wait to contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney. An experienced juvenile defense attorney may be able to help your Utah teen make sure that he’s treated fairly and respectfully. Make the right call today.

Potential Consequences for Utah Juvenile Offenders

Consequences for juvenile offenders in Utah can vary from one district to another, but are fairly similar. Sometimes knowing what might happen if you behave a certain way may keep you from making that particular choice.

Photo: Steven Orr

Fines

The fines juvenile offenders are required to pay are generally set by the legislature and differ depending on the offense.

Written Assignments

Juvenile offenders may be required to write letters of apology or a report concerning their behavior.

Restitution

Restitution is a requirement to repay financial loss to a victim. If a child and/or his family can’t pay the money, the child may be able to work until he can repay the damages in full.

Counseling

This may be required for certain juvenile offenders who may benefit from specialized counseling services in regard to what led to their behavior.

Community Service

This consequence may be given to juvenile offenders so that they can work instead of pay fines. Community service may be a good opportunity for youth to return some of what was “taken” from the community.

Home Detention

In this situation, a juvenile is required to be with a parent/guardian at all times and may not have phone calls or visits with friends.

Detention

This type of detention requires juvenile offenders to be locked up in a formal youth detention center.

A Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help

It’s ultimately up to a juvenile judge to decide what consequences a youth will face. It is beneficial for any youth in the juvenile justice system to have an attorney to help make sure the child’s best interests are looked after.

Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today if your child is struggling with legal problems. Getting him the help he needs now may make his—and your—life easier in the future.