Anne Arundel County Underage DUI Penalties

Driving under the influence is a serious charge, but that charge becomes even more serious when the driver is under the legal age to consume alcohol in the first place. Accordingly, Anne Arundel County underage DUI penalties can be stiff. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to explain alternative consequences that may be available to minimize the impact on a young person’s future.

Underage DUI Consequences

The penalties in the criminal courts for an individual under the age of 21 charged with a DUI are the same as in the adult courts. A guilty verdict carries up to a year in jail, 12 points on their license, and additionally penalties from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

If a person under 21 refuses a field breath test or blows a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.15, they will be subject to at least a six-month suspension of license or have an ignition interlock for a year. An ignition interlock is a device that requires a sober breathalyzer test to start and operate a vehicle. Because the driver is underage, there may be an enhanced penalty of an additional six months with an ignition interlock.

The most immediate impact on a young person’s future after an underage DUI could be their ability to drive and having a criminal record. Besides losing the right to drive and having to use an ignition interlock, the accused will face higher insurance rates and even though it is a traffic offense, it is a jail-able traffic offense and is not expungable. The Anne Arundel County underage DUI penalties include a criminal record that will follow the driver for the rest of their life.

Pursuing a Restricted License After an Underage DUI Charge

A restricted license allows a driver to continue to operate a vehicle for limited applications such as driving to and from work, school, medical appointments, or alcohol treatment. However, the only way someone can get a restricted license is if they had a BAC under 0.15. If they had a BAC over 0.15, they must then petition for a hearing in the Baltimore County Office of Administrative Hearings within 10 days.

The petition requires a $150 filing fee. The hearing will be scheduled at the Hunt Valley office where the driver will appear before an administrative law judge and request a restricted license instead of an outright license revocation.

Alternative Sentencing

Jail time is not a typical punishment for a first offense unless there were exacerbating factors such as the presence of a minor in the vehicle, or an extremely high BAC. Some common alternatives to jail time may be supervision, probation, alcohol educational programs, treatment, a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel, alcohol monitoring, and perhaps an interlock device installed in their vehicle. These can help ensure a consequence, appropriate remedial treatment, and action following a DUI charge and arrest without incarcerating the defendant.

The imposition of alternative sentences is completely at the discretion of the judge. Typically, judges will follow any reasonable recommendation made by the prosecution or defense, or they may make a compromise between the two suggestions. The judge could do some, all, or none of the alternative sentences available to them in addressing and properly sentencing someone following a conviction for an underage DUI.

Fighting Underage DUI Penalties in Anne Arundel County

A seasoned criminal attorney could defend you or your child during court proceedings, fighting for the best possible outcome. Anne Arundel County underage DUI penalties must be taken seriously as they can have a large impact on a young driver’s future. Call a lawyer today to schedule a consultation on your case.