Like a lot of things in juvenile court, it doesn’t only involve the court, but other different agencies, and especially in this case the District Attorney’s Office. We have developed a protocol with them over the years with how to handle these cases and they have agreed that in a situation, where a child is charged with DUI, but there is no accident, no damage, they are willing to go along with a certain procedure, and that would be that the child would come into court, would admit to the charges, but would be placed on something called a consent decree.
Now the consent decree is a form of probation, but it’s a special kind, where if a child successfully completes this period of consent decree, which is ordinarily six months, then he has no record. He is not formally found guilty of the charge.
It’s held in abeyance during this period of six months and as long as he doesn’t re offend, then the matter is automatically dismissed at the end of that time frame. But that only happens to kids who aren’t involved in accidents or obviously where other people are not injured.
Now, if they’re involved with an underage drinking and they’re not driving, that is a summary offense and they would be issued a non-traffic citation. They would have to pay a fine, but they wouldn’t be involved directly with the courts. Now if they’re driving it’s certainly a different category.