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Posted June 4, 2008 | comments Leave a comment

Tougher penalties for underage drinking and driving go into effect July 1

(From a press release) Beginning July 1, underage drinkers who are caught driving could face a year in jail and either a minimum $500 fine or 50 hours of community service.

The new law goes into effect July 1 and is defined as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The current punishment is a loss of license for six months and a $500 maximum fine.

Other laws that take effect July 1 that affect teen drivers include:

  • Learner's permit holders will have to practice behind the wheel for 45 hours instead of the current 40, and 15 of those hours must be after sunset. Those hours must be certified and documented on a form supplied by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Anyone driving a moped faster than 35 miles per hour will be considered to be operating a motorcycle and will be subject to the same traffic laws that govern motorcycles. Moped drivers must carry identification that includes name, address and date of birth.

  • Penalties for repeat violators of the state's child restraint law will face a civil penalty of $500. First-time offenders face a $50 penalty. Children up to age 8 must be properly secured in a safety seat. Children between 8 and 16 must wear a seat belt.

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