Underage DUIs - Penalties
In communities such as Tempe, underage DUIs are dealt with as harshly as, if not more harshly than, adult DUIs. That is why it is of utmost importance for those who are under the age of 21 and facing DUI charges to seek out experienced DUI attorneys, such as James E. Novak, who understand how best to protect their rights.
Arizona is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to underage drunk driving. If a driver under the age of 21 takes a chemical test that returns a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of greater than 0.00 percent, he or she can be charged with driving under the influence. Only a skillfully constructed and articulated DUI defense can help to mitigate the vast amount of trouble in which such a driver will find himself or herself.
Penalties for Underage DUI
Even without driving, people who consume alcohol before they reach 21 years of age are subject to severe punishment in the state of Arizona. For example, if someone under the age of 18 is caught consuming alcohol, he or she could face a two-year suspension of his or her driver’s license, even if that person had no intention to drive or means of driving on that occasion. The use of a false ID to obtain alcohol can result in a six-month driver’s license suspension for anyone under 21, again even if that person was not caught behind the wheel of a car when under the influence of alcohol.
Therefore, as you might imagine, the penalties faced by drunk drivers under the age of 21 are particularly severe. If convicted on a first offense, underage drunk drivers face such penalties as:
- Mandatory two-year driver’s license suspension, with the possibility of a restricted permit
- A lifetime class 1 misdemeanor criminal record
- Up to 10 days in jail
- Up to $1,500 in fines
- Community service
- Education classes
A second underage DUI conviction carries a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and fines up to $2,500.
The above penalties reflect only those imposed by the Arizona courts. Most people convicted of underage DUIs face other consequences, including the cancellation of their auto insurance (or, more probably, a stiff rate increase), expulsion from school (whether a high school or college), and suspension from participation in sports - not to mention whatever punishments they face from their parents.
You Have Rights
If you are under the age of 21 and have been charged with a DUI, or if you are a parent of a child faced with this circumstance, you may feel helpless right now. Be assured, however, that all hope is not lost. James E. Novak is available to evaluate your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. It may be possible to negotiate a reduced charge or even to have the charges dismissed altogether. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your particular case, Attorney Novak will determine the most effective course of action, with the ultimate goal to minimize the effect of the charges on your (or your child’s) future.
Contact James E. Novak
To learn more about underage DUI or to schedule an evaluation of your case, please contact James E. Novak today.