Penalties for Maryland DUI For Drivers Under 21
Someone facing an underage DUI in Maryland, who is under 21 versus over 21, is going to be facing more significant consequences because they should not have been drinking to begin with. It is easy to argue to the judge that somebody who was at a 0.08% BAC or a 0.09% deserves to have some leniency for their first alcohol-related offense because it is not always easy for somebody to gauge whether or not having one drink or two drinks is too many for them to be getting behind the wheel of a car.
But when somebody is not permitted to consume alcohol at all, as is the case with somebody under the age of 21, a judge has a hard time understanding why they got behind the wheel of a car to begin with, much less why they were drinking when it’s illegal. Since it is illegal in two ways, that is why the punishments taken seriously and the help of a Maryland underage DUI lawyer is essential.
DUI and the Department of Juvenile Services
When somebody is under the age of 21 yet over 18, they are still treated as an adult. If they are under 18, their case goes to juvenile court. Therefore, how they are treated depends on whether they are considered a legal adult at the time, meaning they are over 18, or whether they are under 18.
If they are over 18, the DUI case will still be handled in an adult court system. An individual will probably be asked to do the same alcohol education class or perhaps a little more advanced than if somebody was over 21, and perhaps some additional penalties like community service for their first DUI will be completed as well. But for somebody who is under 21, the Department of Juvenile Services will have an extensive amount of involvement in determining what the appropriate resolution of that case will be. Community service and alcohol education programs are just the beginning of something like this.
There will likely be extensive monitoring done by the court system as well to make sure that this person, that is considered of a very impressionable age because they are juvenile, is really learning the lesson that they are supposed to learn from this event so that nothing like this happens when the stakes are higher in the adult court system.
Additionally, since those under the age of 21 also have a restriction on their license that disallows them from consuming any alcohol, the Motor Vehicle Administration might penalize a person’s license for a DUI charge.
Driving under the influence while underage can impact a person’s future in a number of ways. Usually young people may be applying to a college, graduate school, seeking student loans, or maybe attempting to rent their first apartment. With all of these situations, they are going to be subjected to background checks and will have to respond to questions about their criminal history.
They may find themselves dealing with the task of explaining exactly what happened in their DUI to those decision-makers, and potentially losing opportunities based on how those decision-makers interpret the responses that an individual gives. People who are young and are looking for employment opportunities that require them to operate a company motor vehicle may lose those opportunities because an employer simply does not want to trust their vehicle with somebody who has a blemished driving record. It is important to recognize that this could have a huge impact on a person’s future opportunities, which is why they should retain the services of an experienced Maryland underage DUI lawyer.