Underage DUI Defense in Georgia

The Attorneys at EHG are experienced in juvenile DUI defense. We are here to help protect your child's record and possibly their license.

Atlanta DUI Lawyer Erin Gerstenzang

Understaning Juvenile DUI Laws in Georgia

If a person under 17 is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), their situation is significantly different from that of an adult aged 21 or older or even an underage drinker aged 18 or older. Legally, someone under 17 is considered a child, incapable of committing a crime unless it involves particular severe offenses. For those over 17, a DUI case goes to a municipal, state, or superior court.

In contrast, Georgia has established juvenile courts to address charges against those under 17. These courts prioritize juvenile rights, and their offenses, including DUIs, are not classified as crimes as traditionally understood. Any judgments made in juvenile court don’t appear on the child’s permanent record. However, a juvenile DUI doesn’t go unpunished.

The role of the juvenile court is to ensure that the young person understands the seriousness of their actions and faces penalties that deter repeat offenses. Regarding the Juvenile Court Process, its primary goal is rehabilitating the individual, always keeping their best interest in mind.

If a minor is charged with a DUI, they must appear in the juvenile court in the county of their arrest. They have a right to legal representation, and choosing the right DUI attorney can significantly affect the case’s outcome.

Pre-trial Diversion for Minors

Some courts offer a pretrial diversion program as an alternative to formal judgment. If the child fulfills the program’s requirements, their records may be eligible to be sealed or expunged.

On the subject of how a juvenile is charged with DUI, even though they face a more forgiving court than adults, stricter guidelines apply to them regarding driving and alcohol. For instance, a juvenile can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .02 or more within three hours of arrest, even if their ability to drive was not impaired. By way of comparison, .08 is the BAC limit for adults over 21.

Zero Tolerance

This threshold for minors is sometimes referred to as zero tolerance because .02 is a de minimis amount of alcohol. A very modest amount of alcohol can result in a .02 or more reading.


Penalties vary depending on the juvenile’s BAC or their compliance with testing.

  • A six-month license suspension is given if their BAC was below .08 or if they refuse testing.
  • A lengthier suspension applies if their BAC is .08 or above.
  • Drivers under 21 cannot get limited driving permits or early license reinstatement.
  • If the juvenile has prior offenses like hit & run or reckless driving, the suspension automatically extends to 12 months.

A DUI attorney can help protect your child’s record and possibly their license. This is crucial because potential employers often check driving records, which can influence their hiring decisions. An Atlanta DUI lawyer can help maintain the confidentiality of your child’s records so that a DUI arrest doesn’t appear on their driving record.

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In Georgia, you can be charged with a “less safe” DUI if the prosecutor can demonstrate that your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if you did not take a chemical test. To prove a “less safe” DUI, the prosecutor may present evidence such as your initial driving behavior (weaving, speeding, or failing to maintain your lane), speech patterns (slurred or mumbled words), the smell of alcohol on your breath, balance issues, and the results of field sobriety tests. In a “less safe” DUI case, the prosecutor must show that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point that you were unable to safely operate a vehicle.

If you took a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test, the prosecutor may try to prove your DUI in two ways: by showing that you were “less safe” to drive due to alcohol or drug impairment, and by demonstrating that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit. In Georgia, it is illegal for drivers of legal drinking age (21 or older) to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher. There are lower BAC limits for commercial drivers and for drivers under 21, who are not allowed to have a BAC of .02% or higher. In Georgia, you may be convicted of a “per se” DUI if the prosecutor can prove that your BAC was above the legal limit within three hours of when you stopped driving, regardless of whether you were “less safe” to drive. If you were arrested in Atlanta, you should have received a copy of your breath test result from the arresting officer.

It is possible to be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of not only alcohol, but also illegal, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs. However, just because you have been charged with a DUI drug offense does not necessarily mean that there is evidence of drug use. Sometimes, prosecutors may include a drug charge as a precautionary measure to ensure that their case is not dismissed on a technicality. This can be inconvenient and embarrassing, as it may appear on a background check and require an explanation to an employer. An attorney may be able to provide your employer with the necessary information to understand the circumstances of the charge. It is important to note that even if the drug charge is not supported by evidence, you may still face other DUI charges related to alcohol or impaired driving.

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Defense Attorney Erin H. Gerstenzang

Juvenile defense for underage DUI in Georgia

For more than a decade, Erin Gerstenzang has been teaching lawyers across the country how to handle DUI cases. Everything from trial techniques to innovative solutions for client problems, Erin is a sought-after speaker who sets the gold standard for what exceptional defense looks like in DUI. With a nationally known course on defending DUI clients, Erin is the go-to for lawyers looking to improve their skills.

Erin Gerstenzang, a member of the Faculty of the National College for DUI Defense, also brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the field of DUI defense. She has served as the Chair of the Georgia Public Defender Council’s DUI Trial Strategies Annual Program for seven years and currently holds a position on the Executive Board of the Georgia Association for Criminal Defense Attorneys, where she heads the Judicial Recommendation Committee.

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What it's like to work with Erin

Absolutely the best, kindest, most upfront and caring attorney I have come across!

I called Erin for a simple consultation, and WOW, the wealth of knowledge the gave me was enough for me to go into court and represent myself effectively! She is not a crook or a scam artist out to take advantage of you, she genuinely cares about you and wants you to come out victorious, whether you do or do not use her. I highly recommend her, because not only is she sweet, kind and caring, she is upfront, honesty and to the point – exactly what a lawyer should be! She is definitely an asset to the Atlanta area attorneys and to any client who should choose to use her! There is no better option.

Best Attorney – who can empathize, understand your problems & finds best way to get you out of it – got all my charges dismissed

I was looking for an attorney who could understand my case, who will be able to effectively fight for me and get the best outcome. That’s exactly what Ms. Erin did. She got to drop all the charges including reckless driving and also got my arrest to be restricted. I highly Recommend Ms. Erin.

Pleasant, effective and efficient – thanks Erin!

I wanted the best possible legal outcome and Erin also came highly recommended through another lawyer. She was 100% worth it. Without getting into specifics, I would not have managed the same outcome if I appeared in court on my own. She knew the system, the judges, the court, etc and was extremely timely in her communications and follow-up in the lead up to my court date. Hiring was simple (electronic documents and payment); we communicated over calls and texts, without me having to meet her till the morning of my court date. She was patient in answering all of our questions and explained the legal scenarios clearly. So glad we hired her given the peace of mind and result. Thank you Erin!


If you are definitely looking for a lawyer that would represent you because they have your best interest at heart, Erin is the right person for the task. Not only would she explore and exhaust all options for your case, but she would guide you and give you feedback. She is excellent , knowledgeable, experienced and friendly. I was facing DUI and I had priors before, Erin was able to fight on my behalf and secure a favorable outcome in my case.

Great Lawyer!

Erin was amazing to deal with from start to finish. She really knew what she was doing and knew her way around the courthouse and prosecutors so that we could get the best result possible. She was very professional and communicated things to me very quickly and easily. She helped me out of a somewhat major traffic violation with only a fine. I would highly recommend her to anyone.

Stellar Lawyer

I hired Attorney Erin regarding traffic; I was so impressed with her thoroughness engagement and professionalism. She was able to get the largest charge dismissed and I paid a fine for the lesser charge. She was engaged and caring. I always knew what was going on and her prices were very reasonable. This is the lawyer to trust!

Highly recommended!

Erin is confident, competent, knowledgeable, responsive and proactive. These are the key qualities I was looking for in an attorney. She was able to answer all of my questions and managed my expectations – while I was weighing my options. I ultimately decided to take my DUI case to trial and the ruling was in my favor, icing on the cake! If you are looking for legal representation, I strongly recommend consulting/hiring Erin.

Erin saved me time, money and a whole lotta tears

Erin is top notch and made everything easy + seamless when I was feeling very frustrated and upset. I got a speeding ticket in Brookhaven and was not only thrilled with the result she achieved, but also how quickly she helped me.

As an attorney myself, I thought about handling the ticket on my own. I’m so glad I didn’t! She got me a better result than I ever could have imagined in no time. Get off the fence and contact her if you want this weight lifted off your shoulders.

Really Really Great Attorney

Let’s start by saying I was charged with D.U.I ; Marijuana possession; Single car accident on a major highway here in Atlanta; & Refused sobriety test. It didn’t matter Mrs.Gerstenzang went to work had charges reduced to Wreckless Driving with a reduced fine. No headaches of D.U.I classes, no drug evaluation; no probation.

She was Awesome! I would recommend her to represent you. Trust me.

Great Traffic Lawyer

I’ve been a lawyer long enough to know that traffic court, especially in the City of Atlanta, is a very specialized practice. Accordingly, when our son was involved in a minor traffic accident, and we did not want to have to submit to the Atlanta Traffic Court’s “Pre-Trial Intervention-Traffic” scam, we reached out to Erin to handle it. Through her knowledge of the system, the solicitors, and the judges, she got us a great result, which was certainly much better than we could have achieved on our own.

I highly recommend her.

Fantastic lawyer, best possible outcome for the case

Erin was hired for a DUI case involving prescription medication. What made the case difficult was because of certain medical issues the client was not able to participate in his own defense. Erin had to think outside the box in representing the client, which she did with great compassion and success. She did a wonderful job of keeping us informed of her plans for representation and was always available to speak to us when necessary.

In our experience Erin really went to bat for her client. If you need legal representation in this area she is the best.

The best call I ever made

I found myself in a bit of a bind and needed someone that knew the system and could respond quickly. Erin turned on a dime to get me out of the immediate situation I was in and then worked with me to resolve the larger issues with in a month. I have her number in my cell phone and gave it to my family and friends so they know who to call if something goes wrong.

Erin Saved My License!!!

I was arrested for DUI in July, and it was a very scary and stressful time. Erin was able to turn all of that around for me.

The video of my arrest was terrible…after watching what I could stomach, it was apparent that Erin had her work cut out for her. My case was very complicated, and there were several factors that made it difficult to win. In court, it was very clear that Erin is highly respected among her peers. Erin was able to guide me through this tough time, while keeping my driving status in tact, not to mention avoiding jail time! I appreciate Erin’s hard work and dedication.

Amazing Lawyer Hands Down!

Erin deserves nothing less than five stars for her intelligence, commitment, passion, and success as a lawyer. With such an abundance of passion for her practice, Erin is one of the best lawyers in town. She is caring, and can move mountains for clients. Whether I needed help day or night, she was always there for me. Law is not just a job for Erin, but it is a passion and a part of her life. Her success in her cases shows her dedication to her clients. I would recommend Erin in a heart beat to anyone who is looking for a lawyer who not only cares about winning a case, but cares about the clients future. I don’t know what I would of done without Erin by my side supporting and representing me.

Very Impressed

I was referred to Erin through my older cousin who had used her in the past for a DUI case. This was my second DUI so he recommended her as one of the best in Dekalb county. My case was a very peculiar one and there were a lot of factors involved because it involved DUI, Hit and Run and Equipment violation. Erin was able to get all my charges dropped and only have the Equipment violation. I am THOROUGHLY pleased with the gracefulness and professionalism that Erin upheld throughout the entire process. She never seemed defeated or became flustered no matter what new evidence presented itself. She was very knowledgable and I Would definitely recommend her to anyone dealing with DUI or any other criminal offense.

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