Frederick Underage DUI Lawyer
A person can be charged with driving under the influence and may face heightened consequences if they are under the age of 21. While the person goes through the same proceedings legally as someone over 21, there may be more probable cause to arrest them and charge them to ensure that they will not drive under the influence again. It is imperative that the person hires a knowledgeable Frederick underage DUI lawyer to ensure that their legal rights are protected and they have a chance to build a strong defense case.
If you or someone you love has been charged with underage drunk driving, there can be severe consequences. There are several benefits to hiring a seasoned Frederick DUI lawyer. They can review any evidence, and determine the best course of action for you.
Laws Regarding Underage DUI
Somebody who is under the age of 21 who is pulled over for suspicion of DUI goes through the same proceedings legally as somebody who is actually over 21. There must be a proper Fourth Amendment basis to stop a vehicle, subsequent reasonable suspicion to detain somebody, order them out of the car, and establish probable cause to arrest them, but the standards of proof for somebody who is under 21 are very different than if they were over the age of 21.
For people who are under 21, for example, the officer would have a lower threshold in terms of establishing probable cause in placing them under arrest because, if somebody is over 21 and has an odor of alcohol on their breath, they would not necessarily be arrested just based on an odor. Somebody who is under 21 who has an odor of alcohol on their breath could be arrested just based on that information because they are, as somebody who is under 21, not permitted to have any alcohol at all in their system. There are varying degrees for criminal consequences and impact depending on a case that is being brought against someone who is under 21 or over 21.
Zero Tolerance Policy for Underage Drinking and Driving
Somebody who is under the age of 21 has a zero-tolerance policy. Effectively, if somebody has a BAC level of a 0.02 or above, which is considered within the margin of error of the Intoxilyzer machine and takes into account any error of the Intoxilyzer machine, they are considered to be impaired or under the influence of alcohol within the legal confines because they are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system as somebody under 21.
Factors used to determine impairment would be the same as they would be for somebody who is over the age of 21 with respect to motor skills, field sobriety tests, and things of that nature, but beyond that, an odor of alcohol is usually enough to constitute probable cause and place that person under arrest. If, however, at some point in the future, they refused the chemical breathalyzer test at the station, factors like their motor skills based on the results of the field sobriety test would be taken into consideration and treated with more weight with respect to proving guilt in a DUI or DWI situation as opposed to somebody who was over the age of 21.
Process of the Case
They should expect the process to be similar to that of an adult DUI where the case goes through the court system and the state is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, however, remember that the threshold for proof beyond a reasonable doubt for somebody who is under 21 is much less than it is for somebody who is over 21. It will be easier for a prosecutor to meet that than it might be for a defendant who is over 21. Therefore, it is important that someone under the age of 21 consults a Frederick underage DUI lawyer.
Underage DUI cases are treated usually more serious than cases involving somebody who was over the age of 21 because, obviously, the person who was under the age of 21 has violated two kinds of law. One is the DUI violation itself and the second is the law of not drinking under the age of 21, and for those reasons, if somebody is prosecuted, the courts see in that person that double criminal activity violation and would put a great deal more emphasis on how the matters are prosecuted. The public policy behind it is obviously to make sure that people who are at a young age are given the help that they need from the system to make sure that something like this does not happen again.
Hiring a Lawyer
The most important reason is that someone who is facing underage DUI charges needs to make sure that their interests with respect to these kinds of criminal cases are adequately represented in court. Any issues with the way that they were charged, arrested, or process are things that only an attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases are going to be able to identify to develop the most appropriate defense. It is essential that the person seeks local legal counsel.
Furthermore, even if all the procedures of the court and the police were done correctly, a Frederick underage DUI lawyer who is familiar with the system can still be extremely helpful in making sure that the punishment or the consequences are not unreasonable or unfair by preparing his clients for appearing before the court regarding mitigation and explanation to the court of what happened, how their client arrived there, and how the court can be comfortable knowing that nothing like this will happen again. If you are facing underage DUI charges, it is important to consult a dedicated lawyer who can help you through this process.