Consequences for Underage DUIs in Arizona

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Suppose you are a young driver or the parent of a young driver in Arizona who has been pulled over for driving under the influence. In that case, you may be wondering what happens if you get a DUI under the age of 21. Underage drinking, and especially driving while under the influence, are serious crimes. Not surprisingly, there are inevitable and potentially severe consequences an underage driver will likely have to face if they find themselves facing an underage DUI charge.

This article will outline the penalties these young drivers could face if convicted of an underage DUI and driving. However, keep in mind that these are just general guidelines. The specifics of your case may vary, and if you or your child have been arrested for DUI, it’s essential to contact an experienced attorney right away.

Read on to learn more about underage DUIs in Arizona and what you or your loved one could face if charged with one.

Arizona’s Underage DUI Laws

When we think of the term “underage,” we usually think of someone under the legal age of adulthood, which is 18 in most places. In Arizona, however, a DUI is considered to be an Underage DUI if the offender is under the age of 21 when committing this offense. This means that even if the driver is 18 years old or older, they can face similar penalties to someone who is actually younger than 18 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Arizona’s Not a Drop Law

Many young drivers might not realize that they may be well below the legal blood alcohol content limit and still be charged with a DUI if they’re under 21. That is because of Arizona’s “Not a Drop” law, which states that any detectable amount of alcohol is sufficient to charge someone under the age of 21 with a DUI.

As a result, that means underage drivers can still be charged with an underage DUI in Arizona even if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08% set for those of legal drinking age.

Unlike standard DUI charges, getting a DUI under 21 does not require officers to prove that an underage driver’s blood alcohol content was above the limit. Instead, they simply need to show that there was a detectable amount, no matter how small.

Underage DUI Penalties in Arizona

DUI penalties in Arizona are known to be severe, and that is no different for underage DUIs. Young drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol while under the age of 21 in Arizona will undoubtedly face some significant consequences.

An under-21 DUI is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. However, an underage DUI does differ from a standard DUI in several important ways. Often referred to as a “baby DUI,” DUI charges for those under 21 do not require mandatory minimum jail time or fines.

In general, the Arizona DUI penalties for drivers under the age of 21 on their first offense can include:

  • Up to six months in jail.
  • Suspension of the driver’s license for two years.
  • Court fees and fines up to $2,500.
  • Required substance abuse education, counseling, and screening.
  • Required community service.

Drivers under the age of 21 convicted of a second offense of underage drinking and driving can expect additional consequences. Still, these DUI penalties in Arizona are not the only charges underage drivers might face. 

Additional Charges for DUIs in Arizona

It’s important not to forget that drinking under the legal age is, in and of itself, a very serious offense. Drivers who are convicted of a DUI due to drinking and driving under 21 are very likely to face additional DUI charges that have nothing to do with the operation of a motor vehicle. This is due to the fact that even possessing alcohol as a minor is a crime.

Drivers who are convicted of a DUI while under 21 years of age often face the following additional charges, among others:

  • minor in possession of alcohol
  • soliciting alcohol
  • possessing and/or using a fake ID
  • various traffic violations
  • identity theft
  • refusing to provide a truthful name when detained

A DUI charge on its own is bad enough. Still, these additional charges can be serious and can significantly negatively impact the young driver’s life for years to come.

Arizona Drunk Driving Consequences

Under 21 DUI consequences in Arizona are not limited to the complete loss of driving privileges and the under 21 DUI penalties listed above. 

Drivers who are convicted of an underage DUI in Arizona may be subject to additional consequences due to driving drunk at such a young age. These consequences can include the complete loss of driving privileges or even the full revocation of the driver’s license.

Still, unlike standard DUI penalties for drivers over the age of 21, judges do have the option of showing some leniency. In some cases, this could mean granting the driver limited driving privileges. These limited privileges will allow the driver to continue to drive themselves to and from work and school. Still, even in cases where the judge allows such limited driving privileges, an ignition interlock system will still be required.

Whether or not the judge shows some leniency may depend on the driver’s blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest. Drivers with a lower blood alcohol content may not face the harshest consequences.

Not All DUIs are Created Equal

Not all DUIs are the same, however. It’s important to note that a driver convicted of drunk driving while under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol content level of .08% or higher could face penalties just as severe as those faced by drunk drivers over 21. 

Those drunk driving consequences can include serving at least one day in jail, with a minimum of eight hours, and being subject to all other penalties associated with a standard DUI.

Additionally, underage drunk drivers whose blood alcohol content meets the levels required for an Extreme or Super Extreme DUI will face even harsher consequences, in line with those faced by adults over the legal drinking age including DUI license suspension and an interlock device, among others.

These categories of DUI are determined as follows:

  • An Extreme DUI involves a blood alcohol concentration between .15 and .20 while driving a motor vehicle.
  • A Super Extreme DUI involves a blood alcohol concentration greater than .20.

The consequences of DUI charges like these are much more severe and could leave the driver with a felony DUI on their record.

Hire an Experienced Underage DUI Attorney

While it’s true that the courts do not look upon DUI charges lightly, especially in the era of Uber and Lyft, there is still room for hope. 

If you have been charged with an underage DUI in Arizona, working with an experienced DUI attorney will be essential. Not only can they help present your case in the best light possible, helping to reduce the severity of the consequences, but they may also be able to get you acquitted of the charge altogether.

DUI laws in Arizona are notoriously harsh and with good reason. They are intended to deter drivers from committing the crime of driving under the influence, to begin with. Still, sometimes these things happen. The attorneys at the law office of Antol & Sherman are here to help. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those accused of underage drunk driving while under the age of 21 in Flagstaff, Arizona, and beyond. 

Our trial attorneys have significant expertise in representing clients charged with under-21 DUIs. We are prepared to fight for you and your future. So if you’re facing an underage DUI charge, reach out to us as soon as possible, and we’ll get to work on your case right away.

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