Underage DUI can have long-lasting consequences. Underage DUI occurs when an individual below the legal drinking age of 21 operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Unlike adult DUI, which requires that a driver possess a blood alcohol level above the state limit, underage DUI may be prosecuted even if the driver’s blood-alcohol level is below the state limit. This is because underage drivers are not legally allowed to purchase or consume any alcohol.
Drivers under the age of 21 who are arrested for DUI are held to the same standard as an adult in the criminal justice system. In the DMV context, however, age is very much a factor. If the DMV can prove that an underage driver had even a negligible blood alcohol level — .02, for example – it can suspend an underage driver’s license for a year. To put this in perspective, consumption of only 1 ounce of beer can result in a reading of .02 – enough for the DMV to suspend an underage driver’s license.
Penalties for Underage DUI In The State Of Kentucky
If the underage driver’s BAC is above .08, the incident will be prosecuted as an operating a vehicle under the influence offense. For a first offense OVI, a jail sentence of 10 to 365 days will be imposed, as will a fine of $500 – $1,000 and a license suspension of 6 – 36 months.
The jail sentence on an underage that is over a .08 is the same as an adult: 3 to 180 days in jail, a fine of $375-$1075 and a license suspension of 6months to 3 years.
What To Do If You Have Been Charged With Underage DUI In The State Of Kentucky
If you have been charged with underage DUI in the state of Kentucky, it is imperative that you mount the strongest defense possible. An underage DUI can have many negative consequences, such as fines, community service, alcohol or substance abuse treatment program attendance, and inability to drive to school or work during the period of license of suspension, and may even have an adverse impact on job or school applications.
Officers arresting an underage driver for DUI must have reasonable suspicion that the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence. An officer must also possess reasonable suspicion in order for an arrest to be lawful. A skilled attorney may be able to call into question the existence of reasonable suspicion. Doing so can build a successful challenge to an underage DUI charge in the criminal justice system, and also remove grounds for license suspension in the DMV context.
Furthermore, an attorney will evaluate whether the arresting officer followed appropriate chemical testing procedures and whether any false positives (e.g. alcohol-based mouthwash) played a role in any positive tests. As such, contact a skilled and experienced Lexington DUI attorney at Suhre & Associates, LLC as soon as possible. Our attorneys are available to help you through this difficult time, exploring weaknesses in the case against you, and working zealously on your behalf every step of the way.