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Underage DUI can mean summertime blues

Remember those days as a teenager when summer vacation stretched ahead for months of glorious fun? It’s a special time in life. Teens are getting their driver’s licenses, going on dates, hanging out with friends but also sometimes experimenting with alcohol.

In Colorado, the drinking age is 21, but it’s often not difficult for teenagers to find ways to skirt the law and experiment with alcohol. The risks inherent in those teenage tests and trials with intoxication are obvious to adults, but sometimes teens don’t understand how an arrest for underage DUI can affect their lives.

And of course, the risks of car crashes involving intoxicated teen drivers are of tremendous concern to parents.

A financial information website recently ran an article surveying the 50 states to try to determine which are best for teen drivers. They looked at federal and state statistics involving percentages of teens licensed to drive, the rate of teen driver fatalities, places where teens receive graduated driving permits and licenses, costs of car repairs and other factors.

Colorado ranks 30th, trailing far behind top-rated New York. The Empire State is atop the rankings for its safety conditions and driving laws, while Colorado has a relatively high number of teens arrested for DUI, according to the WalletHub.com survey.

Part of the reason we have so many underage DUI arrests is because in Colorado, a person under age 21 can be convicted with a blood alcohol content as low as .02 percent. A person 21 or over must have a BAC of .08 percent or higher.

Parents understand that a conviction can have a negative impact on their child’s future higher education and job opportunities. Because parents understand that, it makes them more likely to do all they can to protect their teen throughout the legal process. An experienced attorney can explain in detail the options available.

Source: WalletHub.com, "2014’s Best and Worst States for Teen Drivers," June 2014

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