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Salisbury Underage DUI Lawyer

The legal drinking age in Maryland is 21. Even if you are under 21, the charges you face in court for a DUI will be the same as someone over the age of 21. However, in certain cases for people of certain ages, penalties and repercussions may differ. A Salisbury DUI lawyer can help those facing these charges through the process. Call and schedule a consultation today for more information.

Underage DUI Laws in Salisbury

The laws regarding DUI are the same whether the driver is over the age of 21 or under the age of 21. A driver under 21 is going to face the exact same charge as one who is 21 or over. They can either be charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired, and the same penalties would apply to an underage driver.

The distinction for a driver under the age of 21 has to do with the consequences after they are convicted. If a driver under 21 is convicted of a drunk-driving offense, then they could be facing a one-year suspension of their driving privilege. That is separate and apart from the other bases for a DUI suspension under the MVA.

For example, if you are over the age of 21 you would face potential suspension of your privilege to drive, depending on the results of your breath test and whether you refused to take a breath test. If convicted of a DUI, that driver would face the consequence of suspension. In addition, someone who is under the age of 21 can face an additional mandatory one-year suspension if it is their first conviction and a two-year suspension if it is a second conviction.

For an underage driver, the separate consequences that they face have to do with potentially having their license suspended for a longer period of time than if they were over the age of 21.

Blood Alcohol Levels For Underage Drivers

If the driver is under the age of 21, then the BAC level changes for that underage driver. In order to be convicted of a DUI, the state would still have to prove that the BAC was at least a 0.08 or greater. Thus, the burden of proof for that element is the same, regardless of the age of the driver.

A driver under the age of 21 automatically drives on a restricted license until they turn 21. That restricted license clarifies that they are not to be driving a car with any alcohol in their system  whatsoever. If they are found driving with alcohol in their system, their license would be suspended by the MVA. Typically I believe it is a six-month suspension for a first offense and it gets worse if there is a second offense.

The relevant BAC level for the charge of violating the license restriction is 0.02 or more. If a driver is under the age of 21, they are in jeopardy of having their license suspended if they are driving the vehicle and their BAC is a 0.02 or greater. They certainly will face a potential DUI charge if the breath test results are 0.08 or greater.

How Prosecutors and the Courts Treat Underage DUI Cases

The court process for underage DUIs are handled in exactly the same way as most other DUIs in District Court. The judges may add some additional conditions to probation for an underage driver, but they are not really in jeopardy of facing a tougher sentence or receiving a greater penalty than any other DUI case. The real consequences are at the MVA, where their privilege to drive may be suspended longer than for a driver 21 or older. Prosecutors and judges do not necessarily treat their cases any differently. It would not matter if the driver was 20 or 21. They are going to be treated aggressively because all DUIs on the lower eastern shore of Maryland are prosecuted severely. The prosecutor’s office is aggressive in their prosecution of all DUI cases regardless of the age of the driver.

Importance of Hiring A Salisbury Underage DUI Lawyer

It’s very important to have an attorney in juvenile court for an underage DUI case because the consequences to a juvenile can be very, very serious. A juvenile runs the risk of being found involved in this offense. They face consequences that could include probation or an incredibly serious consequence, in certain circumstances, being taken out of the home and placed in a juvenile facility.

Considering how serious the consequences can be, it makes a lot of sense to be sure that the juvenile is working with an attorney. An attorney provides some very important services to the juvenile client. The attorney knows what to look for in the investigation. In some ways, it is similar to what attorneys do for an adult DUI. The attorney reviews all of the paperwork.  An attorney know what evidence is neccesary in order to prove a juvenile was involved.  An attorney knows the rights that the juvenile has, and can review the reports to determine if the police violated those rights when interacting with the juvenile.