Underage DUI and Arizona Law
The consequences of driving under the influence are serious for everyone, especially for younger people. When it comes to underage driving, Arizona is a zero-tolerance state. This means that blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeding 00.00 percent will result in a DUI charge. So, you do underage DUI and Arizona law will be very strict.
Arizona Statutes and Regulations
Arizona Revised Statutes 4-244(34) states that anyone under the age of 21 who has consumed alcohol does not have the legal right to operate a vehicle. The same applies to individuals who get in the car after taking drugs or other illegal substances.
Depending on the severity of the violation, the underage person charged with DUI could face up to six months in jail. A license could also be suspended for a period of up to two years, which is why young drivers should never take such regulations lightly.
A Detailed Overview of Penalties
A person who commits underage DUI for the very first time will most likely get out of the situation with probation. Still, the severity of the violation and the damage caused by the driver will be examined for the purpose of determining an adequate penalty.
The typical first DUI conviction will result in a minimum jail time of 24 hours (it can go up to 10 days), a fine and a license suspension ranging from 90 to 360 days.
Second-time offenders face 30 to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to 2,500 dollars and license suspension for a one-year period.
Whenever a person under the age of 21 is arrested with a very high blood alcohol content or after hurting/killing someone in a driving under the influence accident, they will face a much more serious penalty. If the offense is serious and there are aggravating factors, a minor offense could be processed under adult law.
Underage DUI and Arizona Law – Possible Legal Defense
An experienced attorney can use several defense scenarios for the purpose of minimizing the sentence or dismissing the charges altogether. It’s very important for a young driver to call for legal assistance immediately after getting detained.
A few of the possible defenses for underage DUIs include the following:
- There was no reasonable suspicion, thus a police officer didn’t have the right to stop the vehicle: a good lawyer could prove that a police officer relied on discriminatory or legally insufficient reasons to perform a chemical test and detain a minor driver for operating a vehicle under the influence.
- A faulty test: the manner in which a breathalyzer or a blood BAC test is administered could be determining for the accuracy of the result. A DUI attorney could argue that the test was not administered correctly or that the operator lacked sufficient experience to guarantee accurate results.
- The minor was not operating the vehicle: this is a popular defense scenario in which an attorney will argue that the suspect was not in control of the vehicle. A person who has pulled over at the side of the road and is sitting in the back seat or is out of the vehicle at the time of the test cannot be considered in operational control of the automobile.
- Miranda right violations or other violations pertaining to the arrest: a person who’s detained for DUI cannot be denied their right to counsel or their Miranda Rights. Such procedural issues could cause the arrest to be invalidated.
While an attorney may be capable of minimizing the sentence and helping a minor driver, there’s still some risk of additional charges pertaining to the consumption or the possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21.
If you are stopped due to DUI suspicions, you may also be at risk of being charged with soliciting alcohol, being a minor in possession, possession of a false ID or vehicle maintenance violations.