Under 21 DUI FAQs
As a minor, you’re prohibited from drinking alcohol. And, while being a minor in possession of alcohol can get you arrested, it’s nowhere near as serious as a DUI. However, just because you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI doesn’t mean that you’ll be found guilty. That said, it’s important to understand as much as possible about DUI offenses so you can know what to expect throughout the process.
At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Tempe DUI defense attorney has more than two decades of hands-on experience defending minors charged with a DUI. We understand that facing DUI charges is stressful. In large part, this is because the criminal trial process is unfamiliar to most people. Below you can find a list of Under 21 DUI FAQs that will give you the background knowledge you need to get started fighting your case.Under 21 DUI Frequently Asked Questions
Are you looking to learn more about underage DUIs in Arizona? If so, keep reading to review some of the most common under 21 DUI FAQs.
- What is the Legal Alcohol Limit for a Minor in Arizona?
- What are the Punishments for an Arizona Underage DUI?
- Do Drivers Need to Speak with Police During a DUI Traffic Stop?
- Can a Police Officer Make You Take a Breathalyzer Test?
- Are There Defenses to Underage DUIs?
- Have You Been Arrested for an Underage DUI?
In Arizona, minors are not permitted to have any amount of alcohol in their system while they are operating a motor vehicle. This means that even a .01 reading on a breathalyzer test is considered a DUI.
If you are under 21 and you are convicted of an underage DUI, you will end up with a misdemeanor on your record. The sentence the court imposes will vary based on your circumstances. However, for a first-time under 21 DUI, the punishment can include the following:
- As much as $500 in fines;
- Assessments totaling $1,000; and
- A two-year driver’s license suspension.
If you are under 18 at the time of your arrest, you won’t be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. Instead, you’ll be brought before the Juvenile Court. If you are adjudicated delinquent, you could be required to spend time in a juvenile detention facility.
If you are over 18, you’ll be prosecuted in adult court and will be subject to a possible ten days in jail. However, the court has the discretion to suspend all but one day of your ten-day sentence.
Yes and no. As a driver operating a vehicle on a public road, you are required to provide the officer with certain information or documents if they request them. These include your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. However, other than this information, you do not need to answer any of the officer’s questions and, in most cases, it’s a good idea to limit your interaction with an officer during a DUI traffic stop [link to DUI Stop, Investigation and Testing page].
No, police officers cannot physically require you to take a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, without your permission. However, under Arizona’s implied consent [link to Implied Consent page] law, you agree to submit to chemical testing by driving on public roads. So, while a police officer can’t force you to take a breathalyzer, you will face administrative penalties if you refuse to do so. For a first-time breathalyzer refusal, the penalty is a one-year driver’s license suspension. However, if you previously refused a breath test, the suspension will be for two years.
Yes, there are many defenses to underage DUIs in Arizona. For example, one of the most common defenses involves challenging the officer’s actions leading up to your arrest. Law enforcement officers must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion [link to Reasonable Suspicion in DUI Cases page] anytime they do something that restricts your freedom, such as initiating a traffic stop, demanding you take a breathalyzer, or interrogating you. If an officer violates your rights during a DUI investigation, any evidence they recovered may be inadmissible at trial. Practically speaking, this usually means the government cannot proceed with the case.
If you have an upcoming court date for a DUI, these Under 21 DUI FAQs may not have addressed all your questions. If that’s the case, give the Law Office of James E. Novak a call to schedule a free consultation. At our Tempe DUI defense law firm, we have extensive experience helping minors charged with DUI offenses keep their records clean and on the road. We understand all the best DUI defenses [link to Defenses to DUI Charges page] and how to effectively use them to reach the best possible result in your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 480-413-1499. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.