Montgomery County Underage DUI Lawyer
No alcohol is permitted to anyone under 21, so a BAC of 0.02 or higher is considered to be a criminal act. When an individual has a BAC over 0.02 and drives a car, they have committed two crimes and will be prosecuted accordingly.
If you or a loved one was charged with an underage DUI, call a Montgomery County underage DUI lawyer for help. An experienced DUI defense attorney understands the local prosecutor’s tactics and can use that knowledge to build an effective defense. Get in touch today to get started on your case.
Rights of Underage Drivers During DUI Stops
When a person under the age of 21 is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, they do not have the same rights as someone who is over 21. For example, the smell of alcohol on a person who is over 21 does not necessarily mean they are driving under the influence of alcohol. They might have some alcohol in their system and be perfectly within the legal limits to drive a vehicle.
Someone under 21, however, cannot have the odor of alcohol on their person because they are not permitted to consume any amount of alcohol. For that reason, the level of suspicion is raised more quickly than it would be for a person who is of proper drinking age. In addition, someone under 21 years old does not have the same rights with respect to administrative sanctions of their driving privileges.
Factors Used to Determine Impairment
The factors used to determine impairment in an underage driver are the same as for anyone suspected of driving under the influence. However, law enforcement is more sensitive to impairment in underage drivers because they are not permitted to have any amount of alcohol in their system. The factors police look at include:
- Standardized field sobriety tests
- Preliminary breath tests
- Formal breathalyzer tests at the police station
- Observations of slurred speech, bloodshot or watery eyes, and bad driving
In addition, there could be an admission to consuming alcohol, or alcohol might be found in the individual’s vehicle at the scene.
How Prosecutors Handle Underage DUIs in Court
If the accused individual is over the age of 18, DUI cases are heard in the district court level of Montgomery County. If they are under the age of 18, they are heard in the juvenile court, a division of the Circuit Court.
Prosecutors and judges take cases of underage DUI seriously. Judges want to make sure these cases receive proper attention so the individuals recognize and understand the severity of their actions. The court wants to make sure they do not fall into a pattern of similar behavior going forward. People under the age of 21 are considered to be vulnerable members of the community who need guidance to make appropriate decisions.
Underage DUI Penalties
Sentencing tends to be severe in underage DUI cases. The judge may require more extensive treatment and sanctions such as community service. Although the person is not sent to jail, the judge wants them to understand the seriousness of the matter and lets the individual know they do not want to see the person return to court as a repeat offender. The individual could face additional conditions, including losing the privilege to drive. A Montgomery County underage DUI lawyer could help an individual challenge their license suspension and mitigate the penalties that they face.
How a Montgomery DUI Attorney Could Help
One of the most important things about underage DUI charges is that every judge handles the matters differently. A Montgomery County underage DUI lawyer has an understanding of the judge’s temperament and their relationships. Judges may prefer specific treatment programs and certain kinds of community service activity. A local lawyer who has experience with these matters knows the most appropriate defense to present to the judges to obtain the best result for their client.
If you were charged with an underage DUI, you could benefit from the services of a qualified defense attorney. Because underage DUI involves two separate crimes, the punishments can be severe. Thankfully, a lawyer could fight for a positive resolution to your case.