Under 21 DUI

Respected Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Minors Charged with Drunk Driving Offenses in Maricopa County

The consumption of alcohol is heavily regulated throughout the United States, and Arizona is no exception. And while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law for minors and adults, prosecutors often want to make an example out of minors who were arrested for a DUI offense. At the same time, the criminal, civil, and collateral penalties of a DUI conviction can have a devastating impact on a minor’s life, whether it is preventing them from going to school, getting a job, or saving up enough money to move out of the house. At the Law Offices of James E. Novak, we have been representing good people charged with serious crimes for more than two decades. Our Phoenix DUI defense attorney has successfully resolved countless cases on behalf of minors, giving them another chance at the future they’ve worked so hard for.

What Is an Under 21 DUI?

The term under 21 DUI, or “baby DUI,” is the unofficial name given to any DUI offense brought against someone who has not yet reached the legal drinking age. Arizona, like many other states, has a zero-tolerance law when it comes to underage DUIs.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 4-244(34) provides that it is against the law for anyone under 21 years old to drive or be in physical control of any motor vehicle if they have even a trace of alcohol in their system. Unlike some other DUI offenses, whether a minor was driving safely is irrelevant—the law automatically assumes that a minor with the slightest bit of alcohol in their system is legally intoxicated.

What Is the Penalty for a Baby DUI in Arizona?

The penalties for an under 21 DUI are largely the same as for adult DUIs, and are outlined below:

1st Offense Baby DUI
  • Suspended driver’s license for two years;
  • Up to $500 in fines;
  • Substance abuse education, screening & counseling; and
  • Community service.
2nd Offense Baby DUI
  • Up to 30 days in jail;
  • Up to $500 in fines;
  • Substance abuse education, screening & counseling; and
  • Community service.

However, if a minor is under the age of 18, they will not be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. Instead, a delinquency case will be filed in the Maricopa County Juvenile Court. DUI offenses for children under 18 are still serious; however, the focus of these cases is generally more about rehabilitation and ensuring that the child receives the necessary treatment than they are about punishment.

Defenses to Under 21 DUI Offenses

There are several defenses to an underage DUI charge, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. For example, one of the most common DUI defenses is a pre-trial motion to suppress physical evidence based on an illegal stop. Police officers are legally required to respect the constitutional rights of all drivers, including minors. Because of this, law enforcement officers cannot stop a car without either probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Similarly, officers must have probable cause to believe a minor is intoxicated before demanding they take a blood or breath test. If officers exceed the scope of their authority, any evidence they recover as a result of their actions—including breathalyzer results—cannot be introduced at trial.

Are You Facing Minor DUI Charges in Maricopa County?

If you are under 21 and face DUI charges, one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your case is which lawyer you choose to represent you. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have more than 25 years of experience defending minors charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. With our help, you can rest assured that your case, your future and your freedom are all in good hands. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.