What Happens if a Minor Gets a DUI in Arizona?
If you are under 21 years of age and have been charged with DUI, or are a parent of a minor who has been charged, we know that you will have many questions. A DUI charge is serious, especially for someone under 21. These laws are different than DUI laws for adults because a minor does not actually have to be intoxicated to get a DUI charge.
Arizona has very tough DUI laws. In this state, there is a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol and minors behind the wheel of a vehicle. While the legal limit for people over 21-years-old is a blood alcohol level of .08, it is simply not tolerated for minors. The punishments for those convicted are severe.
The last thing you need, as minor, is a DUI conviction that will be on your record. It can impact your ability to drive and get a job. A DUI charge can hinder your ability to start your life. The best way to combat a DUI charge as a minor is to secure an attorney who understands the state laws.
The penalties relating to minors and alcohol are tough, but first-time offenders may be able to secure leniency on the charges. Below, you will see the maximum penalty possible. A skilled attorney with a first-time offending client should be able to lower these penalties.
Please note that those under the age of 18 will usually see their cases heard under different laws than adults. Those aged 18 to 20 will see their cases tried as adults.
DUI While Underage – 1st Offense
- Class 1 misdemeanor
- Up to 6 months in jail
- $2,500 in fines
- License suspension for 2 years
- Possible probation
- Drivers education classes
*A second offense will raise the requirements significantly and you will be less likely to receive leniency from the court.
Another penalty that people often do not think about is how insurance companies will treat a minor driver with these charges. Even if you are allowed to gain access to a restricted license to get to and from work, many insurance companies will not cover you. If they do, the monthly payments tend to be very high.
There are some situations in which a DUI charge to a minor can be elevated due to certain “aggravating” factors. These can include:
- A very high blood alcohol content
- Extremely reckless driving
- Injury or death to another party
What You Can Do Now
When a person under 21-years-old gets a DUI, they need to secure a qualified and experienced attorney. The goal will be to lower the consequences of the charges, reduce the charges, or get the charges thrown out altogether. For one of these things to happen, your defense attorney can do a few things:
- Prove you were not in control of the vehicle while you had alcohol in your system.
- Work to show that the Standard Field Sobriety Test was faulty or administered in a manner inappropriate with proper procedure. Often, the officers who administer these tests (there are three of them) are not properly trained to do so or have not been recertified to do so.
- Dispute the results of the blood alcohol test, whether it was a breath analysis or a blood analysis. The machines used for these tests must be recalibrated frequently according to AZ law.
- Show the court that the stop was illegal to begin with, that the officer had no reason to pull you over in the first place. The goal here is to show that there was no probable cause for the stop or arrest.
Do not wait to secure legal assistance in the aftermath of a charge like this. Your future depends on it. Click here for additional information on underage DUI in Arizona.