A DUI is a serious charge. Driving while Under the Influence is a dangerous thing for anyone to do. The law sets legal limits for the amount of alcohol that can be in someone’s bloodstream, and those limits are in place to ensure that people do not attempt to drive while their reaction times and judgment are impaired.
The law in Arizona takes a particularly harsh view of underage drinking and of driving under the influence of alcohol as a young person. They have a strict ‘not a drop’ law for those under the age of 21. This means that if you are underage and are caught behind the wheel of a vehicle with any alcohol at all in your system then you will be punished harshly. Those who are over the age of 21 are considered to have been driving under the influence of alcohol if their Blood Alcohol Concentration was 0.08%. There is no need to prove this for those who are under the age of 21.
If you are a parent who has an underage child that is being faced with traffic charges or a DUI, be sure to seek professional DUI lawyer advice immediately, and work with the lawyer to help get your child’s life back on track.
What is an Underage DUI Classed As?
An Underage DUI is colloquially known as a ‘baby DUI’. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor and it can be punished by fines of up to $750, and imprisonment for up to 6 months. There are no mandatory punishments and cases are assessed individually to determine an appropriate punishment.
There is, however, a mandatory 2 year license suspension for an underage DUI, and this punishment is often more feared by young people than a fine or jail time because of the longer term impact it can have on their lives, limiting their travel options.
What if The DUI Will Impact Studies or Work?
Judges have some flexibility with the punishments that they hand out, and if it can be demonstrated that having your license suspended will impact a young person’s ability to get to school or work then they may be allowed to have driving privileges just for those specific routes. If this option is pursued then the driver will have to have an ignition interlock device fitted to their car to ensure that the rules are followed.
An Underage DUI Can Mean More than One Rule Was Broken
For someone to get an underage DUI that means they must have been drinking and because of this it is common for underage DUIs to be associated with other offenses. For example, a DUI might come alongside a charge for possession of alcohol while underage, or one for soliciting alcohol or using a fake ID. Traffic violations are also often associated with underage DUIs, since a person is often driving erratically, and that is why the police officers choose to pull them over.
Seek Advice if You Are Facing a Charge
A DUI is a serious issue, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. If you are faced with a charge for a DUI then you should seek professional legal advice to try to minimize the impact of the charge and make sure that you get a fair penalty for your circumstances. A good attorney may be able to get the charge dismissed if there are issues with the procedures that the police followed, or may be able to help the young person retain their right to drive so that they can continue their schooling and keep their job.
Young people make mistakes, and while a DUI should not be waved off as someone being “young and stupid” because it is indeed something that can put lives at risk, the youth of the person should be taken into account and they deserve to be supported to ensure that they are able to remain productive members of society and learn from their mistakes.
Young people between the ages of 12 and 20 consume 11% of the alcohol sold in the United States, even though drinking under the age of 21 is not legal. Excessive drinking claims 4,300 lives per year, and that is a huge problem. A young person who gets caught behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated should in some ways be grateful that they were stopped before they had a chance to do harm to anyone, since the impact that being involved in a crash can have on a person’s mental health can be lasting and severe.
After the motoring suspension is lifted, the young person can usually go about their life normally and hold jobs that require driving, but they must understand the severity of the charge, and that repeat offenders are viewed even more harshly than first-timers.