Individuals under 21 years old are prohibited by law from consuming or possessing alcohol, so those who are suspected of DUI while under 21 face a lower threshold of blood alcohol content.
If they have a BAC of 0.02 or higher, they will be charged with a DUI for a person under 21, which carries the same penalty as a regular DUI. People who are underage and are charged with a DUI face up to 12 months in jail, fines, and the loss of their driver’s license for a year. Also, there is an additional mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service.
If you are facing charges, contact a seasoned Mecklenburg County underage DUI lawyer. An accomplished DUI attorney could advocate for you and protect your rights.
The factors that will be used to determine impairment in an underage driver are the same as those used for a driver who is 21 or older. There are many tactics law enforcement will use to see if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes field sobriety tests, blood and breath tests, and video evidence from dash cams or body cams. An officer could also use any statements that the individual may have made.
A driver under 21 years old should expect that when they are first charged that they will be brought into custody. Often, law enforcement will allow a sober family member or friend to come to pick up the accused. Just as often, however, people are held in custody until they can demonstrate their sobriety to law enforcement. In addition, they should expect that they will have a trial, usually within about 30 days, to determine their guilt or innocence.
An underage DUI case is handled in much the same way as the standard or adult DUI, although charges against drivers under 21 will treated seriously because they are violating not only the DUI laws, but also the laws against consuming alcohol at that age. If they are under 18, that will be treated even more different and their case will take place in the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court.
A skilled underage DUI lawyer in Mecklenburg County who has experience handling these cases could stand by the defendant’s side throughout the legal process.
Prosecutors and judges treat underage DUI cases seriously because it demonstrates that the young person is already engaged in risky behavior. As a result, prosecutors and judges try to correct that behavior and redirect the individual to lawful behavior, often leading to strict treatment by the courts.
The sentencing of the underage DUI driver will depend on specific facts of the case, but often they are comparable to of-age sentencing, one important difference being that anyone convicted of underage DUI faces a mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service.
Underage DUI is a serious case, and it can affect someone for the rest of their life, even though it may just be a youthful mistake. Therefore, it is crucial that they hire an experienced lawyer who could help the defendant get the best possible outcome for their case. Call a Mecklenburg County underage DUI lawyer today and set up a consultation.
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