If you are a minor charged with underage DUI, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your youth will help your case. In fact, underage drinking and driving laws in Arizona are even stricter for those under 21 than for adults. If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, sometime called baby DUI, help is just a phone call away. Contact an experienced underage DUI lawyer to discuss your case at confidently and at no cost.
Underage Drinking and Driving Explained
Under Arizona law, pursuant to A.R.S. § 4-244(34) it is illegal for a minor to:
- Drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if there is any alcohol in the person’s body.
Put simply, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to drive after consuming even the smallest amount of alcohol.
Consequences for DUI Under 21
Under Arizona law pursuant to A.R.S. § 4-246(B) if convicted of underage DUI you are:
- Guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by:
- Up to six months in jail;
- Up to $2,5000 fine plus surcharges;
- Three years of probation.
However, while it’s legally possible to receive six months in jail for an underage drinking and driving conviction, it is very uncommon. More commonly, the minor will receive:
- No jail or a suspended jail sentence;
- An alcohol education course;
- Fines and fees;
- Unsupervised probation;
- A criminal conviction on their permanent record; and
- A minimum 2-year suspension of their driving privilege.
Other Possible Penalties for Underage DUI
Additional penalties can, and should be, expected if the minor (person under 21) is also charged with a regular DUI, Extreme DUI, drugged driving, a marijuana related DUI or felony DUI in addition to the underage DUI (baby DUI).
Furthermore, additional penalties can be expected if the minor was involved in an accident, especially if someone was injured or killed. In instances or minors involved in alcohol-related accidents criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter, vehicular assault and vehicular endangerment should be expected.
Underage DUI Diversion
Diversion programs or deferred prosecution programs are programs that allow a person to complete a program in exchange for having their criminal case dismissed. Examples of common diversion programs include alcohol classes for a minor in possession of alcohol or drug classes (TASC) in exchange for dismissal of personal possession charges.
Several courts in Arizona routinely offer diversion programs for minors charged with underage drinking and driving. To determine if your case can be expected to be offered a diversion program, we suggest contacting an expert underage DUI lawyer to discuss the specifics of your individual case.
How Long is License Suspended for DUI Under 21?
The answer to how long your license is suspended for DUI under 21 depends on;
- Your age at the time of the offense; and
- The charge for which you were convicted.
Again, it is important to remember that a minor can be found guilty of underage DUI for having “any” alcohol in their system and also be found guilty of other DUI charges including a DUI with a BAC that exceeds 0.08, Extreme DUI, drug related DUI or a Marijuana Related DUI.
License Consequences for DUI Under 21 (Ages 18-20):
If you are convicted of A.R.S. § 4-244 (34) and you were between 18 and 20 years old at the time of the offense, motor vehicle will revoke you license for a period of two years. If, however, you plead guilty to a regular DUI (A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(1)) and not an underage DUI, your license will be suspended in a fashion similar to those of legal drinking age (90 day suspension with an eligible work restriction for 60 of the 90 days).
If a minor does end up with the two-year revocation for underage DUI, then pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-3322 they can petition the court and receive a restricted driver license. This restricted license will allow the person to drive to and from home, work, school, or other places deemed essential. In order to obtain with privilege, the driver must install an ignition interlock device.
License Consequences for DUI Under 21 (17 and Below):
Those who were 17 years old or younger at the time of the offense, should expect a two-year revocation of their driver license regardless of the type of DUI or underage DUI conviction. Those under 18 are also eligible for a restricted license pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-3322.
SIDE NOTE: A plea to reckless driving will avoid any license suspension.
Hire an Experienced Underage DUI Lawyer
As experienced criminal defense attorneys representing individuals charged with underage DUI throughout Arizona, we understand the different circumstances and defenses associated with each case. While many people charged with underage DUI believe they will be convicted simply by virtue of having a small amount of alcohol in their system, they forget that alcohol concentration is only a one part of an underage DUI defense strategy. Consult at no cost and in confidence with an experienced underage DUI lawyer to learn how your underage drinking and driving charges can be dismissed, reduced or amended.