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Maryland Underage DUI Lawyer
For more information about how receiving a DUI while under the age of 21 can affect a person’s record, academic status, and license status, contact an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer answers questions about getting a DUI while under the legal drinking age in Maryland.
A Maryland Underage DUI Lawyer Can Help
Underage DUI cases carry a level of specificity and sensitivity that is far more significant than for somebody who is not underage and being charged with a DUI. Even people who are not underage and being charged with a DUI need the assistance of an aggressive DUI defense attorney who has experience in the particular county where they were charged to really make sure that all your rights are protected, to make sure that the officers complied with all the Fourth Amendment requirements and to be sure that any defenses that are available to you are properly noted with the court to present, to try and get the charges dismissed.
There’s really no reason that those same rules don’t apply to a juvenile, and perhaps are even more important to a juvenile. Many times juveniles have so much more at stake than adults do, particularly because they are just starting out in their careers. They may still be in school or they may be applying for varying professional licenses and all of those things could be put in jeopardy if they are charged with a driving under the influence or while impaired by alcohol offense. Accordingly, it is smart to seek a consultation with an experienced Maryland underage DUI lawyer who has handled these kinds of cases in the past. At the very least, you can learn more about the charges you are facing and what your options may be.
What Happens When Someone Under 21 is Pulled Over For DUI?
When somebody is under the age of 21 and pulled over for driving under the influence or suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the evaluation of a case like this is completely different than it would be for somebody if they were over the age of 21.
For example, if somebody is under the age of 21, an odor of alcohol on their breath could be enough probable cause to place them under arrest. Whereas an odor of alcohol on the breath of somebody who was over 21 and being pulled over would not necessarily be enough probable cause to place them under arrest. The reason for this difference is because obviously we do not have a zero-tolerance policy in Maryland for people having alcohol in their system when they’re behind the wheel of car.
An individual is allowed to consume some amount of alcohol and still be considered fit to be operating a motor vehicle if they are over 21. However, if somebody is under 21, whether they are fit or not to operate a vehicle, it is still illegal for them to have consumed any alcohol at all. Therefore, an odor of alcohol on their breath would be enough probable cause in many situations for an officer to establish an appropriate arrest.
Someone who is under the age of 21 will also likely face license penalties for consuming alcohol and operating a motor vehicle.
BAC and Underage DUI Charges
When somebody is driving under the influence of alcohol or while impaired by alcohol in Maryland, the threshold for what constitutes actually being impaired is usually going to start somewhere at a level of a 0.06 when it comes to reading on a blood alcohol concentration meter, whether it’s a blood level or a level that’s measured by a breath test.
If somebody is under the age of 21, they are not permitted to have any more than a 0.02 level of alcohol in their system, which is really the margin of error for many of the devices used to test whether or not somebody has consumed alcohol when they’re driving a vehicle. This means that there is a zero-tolerance policy for people that are under the age of 21, and that’s why the evaluation of a stop and field sobriety test and subsequent arrest for somebody who is under 21 is completely different than for somebody who is over 21. Someone under the age of 21 is likely to face criminal charges in addition to a DUI for consuming alcohol while under the legal age. Prosecutors and judges in the state of Maryland are unlikely to be lenient, which is why they should contact a Maryland underage DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss their defense and how to proceed.
If someone obtained alcohol while using a fake ID, that is another charge that can be compounded onto a DUI charge.
Our Approach to Underage DUI Cases
One of the first things that an experienced underage DUI lawyer in Maryland will tell anybody who is charged with a DUI is that it’s important that they not speak to anybody except a lawyer about what has happened. It’s important not to rush to call your insurance company or tell your employer. Do not to rush to do any of those things until we find out exactly what your duties of disclosure are.
A DUI can be traumatic enough for any individual when they are first dealing with it, and everybody has an immediate reaction to be as forthcoming as possible with an investigation. That certainly might be the right answer for a lot of people, but the defense doesn’t want to be too forthcoming and give up information that isn’t necessarily required to give up, which could have a negative impact on someone’s case.
The second thing a Maryland underage DUI lawyer will share with you is to make sure that the defense takes all of the appropriate steps to inform the Motor Vehicle Administration of the your desire to preserve your right to a hearing within the required period of time. Next, make sure that you get yourself enrolled in an alcohol education program immediately so that the defense can share with the court just how seriously you are taking the entire series of charges in this case.
Implications for Your Status at Your University
In addition to criminal charges that are brought against you, there may also be penalties from your university. The impact a DUI can have on your status as a student depends on the university. There is no obligation that the court has to call a university or call an individual’s employer and say that this individual has been charged with a criminal offense. But some employers, some universities, some schools, particularly private schools if a child is still in high school, require that if a person has been charged with a crime that they are under an affirmative duty to disclose that information to the school or the employer under their agreement with that particular body. Whether or not they will find out really is an answer that can only be responded to on a case-by-case basis.