Driving under the influence is always a serious charge, but when a minor is faced with this charge, the laws are much stricter, making it much easier to secure a conviction. Even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than .08% and you weren’t impaired, you can still be convicted of a DUI. If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, contact the experienced Glendale underage DUI lawyers at The Stewart Law Group to schedule a free consultation.
Elements of an Underage DUI
If you’re under the age of 21 and are arrested for driving under the influence, it’s typically much easier for the prosecution to secure a conviction because of the way the statute is written. While individuals 21 and older can, in some cases, legally drive while their BAC is less than .08%, anyone under the age of 21 can be arrested for and convicted of driving under the influence if they have any amount of alcohol in their system. Even if your BAC is .01%, you can still be charged with and convicted of an underage DUI.
As with a regular DUI, you must be in actual physical control of the vehicle to be convicted of a DUI. This doesn’t necessarily mean you were driving, though. If your case goes to trial, the judge will determine whether you were in actual physical control based on several factors, including but not limited to whether the car was on, whether it was parked and where, where the keys were, whether you were in the driver’s seat, and whether you were awake or asleep.
It’s also important to understand that even though you’re underage, you can still be charged with and convicted of a regular, extreme, or super-extreme DUI and receive the same sentences that an adult over 21 would receive.
The penalties of an underage DUI conviction can have a severe impact on your life. Even a first offense underage DUI conviction can carry an automatic 2-year license suspension, fines, substance abuse education and treatment, and community service. While there’s no mandatory jail time, the license suspension is much harsher than it is if an individual is convicted of a DUI once they’re 21 or older. Additionally, you will likely receive a probation sentence, and the judge can sentence you to up to 180 days in jail if they deem it appropriate. Additionally, after an underage DUI conviction, car insurance rates will increase significantly. Your Glendale underage drinking and driving attorney can help you navigate this process.
If you’re convicted of an underage DUI and lose your driver’s license, the judge is permitted to order that a restricted license be provided to you. With this restricted license, you can drive to work and school during the term of the suspension. To be eligible for this license, you must install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. You must pay to have it installed and maintained for the 2-year suspension. If you are ordered to complete drug or alcohol treatment, you must complete that before you can obtain your restricted license.
The Stewart Law Group Is Here To Help
As you can see, Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. The consequences this can have on your life are extreme and can affect your future and your day-to-day life. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to hire an experienced underage DUI attorney who can develop an appropriate legal defense for your case. The Glendale underage DUI lawyers at The Stewart Law Group have significant experience handling all types of DUI cases, including those involving individuals under the age of 21. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation.