Bethesda Underage DUI Lawyer
If you are underage and you are charged with a DUI in Bethesda, you will be facing a different set of standards than most DUIs. If you are under 21 and pulled over for a DUI, you will be charged with a DUI and will face serious consequences. Anyone facing charges who is underage should contact an underage DUI attorney in Bethesda who may be able to find alternative sentencing and will build a solid defense for them.
Factors Determining Impairment
The level of impairment or alcohol concentration level in DUI cases where somebody is under 21 is significantly less than a person who is over 21. For someone over 21, they are allowed to have some alcohol in their system and still be permitted to drive. Someone under the age of 21 is not allowed to have any alcohol in their system and be permitted to drive.
If a person is behind the wheel of a car and is under 21 and blows into a breathalyzer, for example, a BAC of .05, they could be criminally charged with driving under the influence, even though a person over the age of 21 would not be charged in those circumstances. A .05 is not enough to satisfy the burden of proof of going forward with an alcohol-related case for someone over 21.
Process of an Underage DUI case
If a person is over the age of 18, they are charged with a DUI and tried as an adult in court. If they are under the age of 18, they are charged with a DUI, but their case will go to juvenile court for litigation.
One of the most specific things that a person under the age of 21 should expect to see in their case of an underage DUI in Bethesda is that the consequences on their driver’s license or driving privilege are much more severe. When someone is under the age of 21 with alcohol in their system, that violates one of their license restrictions. They are not permitted to obtain, purchase, or drive under the influence of alcohol until they are 21 years old.
A person over 21 with a first offense might be granted probation before judgment if they take an alcohol education program. That might not be the case for somebody who is not over the age of 21.
Those circumstances might find that person receiving a significant number of points, an increase in their insurance premium, losing the ability to be insured, and facing the possibility of a period of incarceration. The court sees the double violation of driving under the influence of alcohol and being under 21 when doing so.
When someone is under 21 and over 18, their case is heard in the Montgomery County District Court. When someone is under 18 and charged with a DUI, their case is handled by the Montgomery County Juvenile Court System. A Bethesda underage DUI lawyer can make sure that you know where your case will be held.
Long Term Consequences
People who have a DUI when they are underage could face consequences like not being able to apply to particular schools and having to disclose their background to schools. Professional exams might also ask someone to disclose their background when they take the exam. This includes SATs, ACTs, bar exams, MCATs, and pharmacy license exams.
Additionally, a person may also face other consequences like not being qualified for certain loans, scholarships, or the ability to rent in certain units and apartment buildings. The consequences can reach well beyond what is seen in criminal court.
There are alternatives to jail that an underage individual may have available to them. Those include periods of probation where the judge might order specific conditions such as completion of an alcohol program or community service. People have options other than jail, but that is determined on a case-by-case basis by the court.
Specific requirements for qualifying for any of these types of alternative sentences are based on the case. There are no particular conditions across the board. However, someone who does not have a lengthy criminal history is more likely to qualify for these alternatives than someone who does. A Bethesda underage DUI attorney will be able to help negotiate alternative sentencing determined by the particular case.
Driver’s License Suspension
When someone is charged with a DUI under the age of 21, their license is confiscated from them. The person will be issued an Officer’s Certification and Order of Suspension indicating that the Motor Vehicle Administration will seek to suspend their privilege to drive for a period of time.
However, that suspension can be challenged. It is important that a person talks to a Bethesda underage DUI attorney who understands the methodology on challenging these types of suspensions to try to have it removed completely from their record at an MVA hearing. The process for obtaining a restricted driver’s license is the same as with a standard DUI. However, it is going to prove more difficult to obtain when somebody is under the age of 21.