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Penalties For A Salisbury Underage DUI Charge

If you are under the age of 21 and have been charged with driving under the influence in the state of Maryland, you may be facing serious penalties. The penalties for an underage DUI and a DUI for someone 21 or older are the same and therefore both would be facing a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1000 fine. Additionally, the maximum penalty for DWI in Maryland is imprisonment for up to 60 days and/or a $500 fine which is the same regardless of whether a driver is under or over the age of 21.

With that said, there is a difference in the penalties that an underage driver would face from the Motor Vehicle Administration. The MVA can suspend an underage driver’s privilege to drive for six months if they are caught driving with any alcohol in their system. A driver under 21 who is stopped by the police with a suspicion they have been drinking, and takes a breath test with a result of 0.02 is considered in violation of the restriction on their license. Accordingly they can get a six-month suspension for a first offense, or possibly revocation of their privilege to drive on a second offense.

The six-month suspension handed down by the MVA can be based simply on an officer’s recommendation to the MVA. The MVA can impose significant consequences on an underage driver.

Furthermore, if an underage driver is actually convicted of a DUI, they will face a mandatory, one-year suspension. That could potentially be in addition to a suspension for being underage and having alcohol in their system while driving a car. It is possible though that those suspensions could run concurrently. That would be determined at an MVA hearing and hopefully decided by the hearing officer in favor of the individual.

Driver License Penalties For An Underage DUI Charge

A driver who is under 21 faces the possibility that the officer will notify the MVA about the stop and about the officer’s determination that there was some alcohol in the driver’s system. If that happens, the driver will receive a notice from the MVA advising that they will receive a notice on how to request a hearing and what to do to potentially prevent their driving privilege from being suspended for six months.

An individual who is under 21 and charged with a DUI is going to face two potential consequences relating to their driver’s license:

The first one is the same consequence that applies to every driver, which is what happens after taking a breath test and getting a certain result or refusing to take the test.

  • If a Maryland driver is stopped and the officer has a reasonable basis to ask them to take a breath test, if they refuse they face a suspension of their driving privilege. The length of the suspension depends on whether it is their first request to take a breath test or a subsequent stop and request.
  • If a driver takes a breath test with a result greater than 0.08 but less than 0.15, then their driving privilege may be suspended for 45 days, or 90 days for a second or subsequent offense.
  • If the breath test result is 0.15 or greater, then the suspension will be for 90 days, or 180 days for a subsequent offense. If the driver refuses to take the breath test then the suspension could be for 270 days, or a year for a subsequent offense. So there are MVA consequences to the driver who is under 21, based on whether or not they choose to take a test and what the test result is if they did take it.

The second consequence for a driver under 21 occurs if it is determined they had any alcohol in their system while driving. The magic number for that breath test result is 0.02. They can face an additional six-month suspension of their privilege to drive. There are additional consequences to the underage driver. They may lose their license for a longer period of time than a driver who is 21.

Obtaining A Restricted License As An Underage Driver

When a driver takes a breath test or refuses to take a breath test, they are given instructions about what to do to request a hearing. The instructions are given after they have been offered the breath test, along with all the paperwork provided to the driver. The paperwork explains what they need to do in order to request a hearing.

The suspension will automatically take place unless the driver requests the hearing. So there is a 45-day grace period where the driver is allowed to drive on a temporary license issued by the police officer. On the 46th day that suspension automatically kicks in unless the driver takes the initiative and requests a hearing.

At the hearing it is possible that a hearing officer will allow a restricted license for very limited conditions, including driving to and from work, school, doctor’s appointments, or treatment like an alcohol-treatment class.

An underage driver will receive a separate notice from the MVA explaining the possible separate suspension due to being underage. It is important for the driver to let the attorney know what any notices say that they have received, because the attorney can request those hearings be combined into one hearing.

It is possible for an underage driver to receive a restricted license, but they should anticipate a complete suspension of driving, followed by a restricted license allowing them to drive to school, work, and so on. The underage driver needs to anticipate greater consequences to their driving privilege in the form of a longer suspension than a driver who is 21 or older.