Howard County Underage DUI Lawyer
Facing a DUI charge before reaching your 21st birthday may seem like a daunting situation, but having a Howard County underage DUI lawyer on your side can potentially result in a more positive outcome for your case. Read the following information below to learn more about underage DUI policy in Howard County, as well as the benefits of obtaining professional legal counsel today.
Underage DUI Laws in Howard County
If someone is under 21 in a DUI case, everything is the same and holds true for them as with someone over 21, but with the important exception that they have an alcohol restriction on their license because they are unable to drive. The average citizen who is 21 or over can drive a vehicle if they register a BAC of 0.03 or 0.04. But with an alcohol restriction, 0.02 is the threshold. Because there can be alcohol in some medicines the court maintains a little bit of allowance, but only a very low one. Therefore, if someone under 21 has any type of violation with alcohol, then they are also facing a violation of a license restriction. Reach out to a dedicated defense attorney to learn more.
Factors Used to Determine Impairment
The factors used to determine driver impairment are the same that are used in adult cases, such as standardized field sobriety tests, the balance and coordination of the operator of the vehicle, speech patterns, interactions, and the odor of alcohol. All of those factors significantly come into play when dealing with a DUI. A skilled Howard County underage DUI lawyer can potentially assist those facing charges by examining whether or not the officer’s stop was considered lawful.
What to Expect in the Process of an Underage DUI Case
Underage DUI cases will be treated a little differently compared to if someone is over 21, as the individual in question is not allowed to engage in the act of drinking regardless of their age or whether they were driving or not. In Howard County, underage DUI cases are held in the district court. The prosecutors and judges still treat these cases seriously, but they are focused more on treatment and behavior changes than necessarily punishment and jail. Typically, someone under 21 is almost always going to be the first offense, whereas repeat offenders over 21 may have to face subsequent offenses that make matters much worse for them.
Severity of Consequences
While punishments such as jail time may not be nearly as severe for a first-time underage offender, the later secondary consequences can be more intense. Those under 21 may be required to perform extra community service, while someone over 21 may be ordered to take alcohol classes or have an ignition interlock installed under their vehicle’s dashboard. Like a breathalyzer, an ignition interlock measures the alcohol in a person’s system. If that amount exceeds a pre-programmed level, then the interlock temporarily locks the vehicle’s ignition. It would be unusual to see these harsher types of sentences for a first defense DUI under 21, but it is significant to know what could happen if the offense is repeated in the future.
Working with a Howard County Underage DUI lawyer
Only a seasoned Howard County underage DUI lawyer will know the ins and outs of the courtrooms and have certain relationships built with prosecutors. They possess familiarity with local rules, preferences of the judges, and what does and does not work in those situations. If you find yourself facing these charges, consider seeking legal counsel from a weathered Howard County underage DUI lawyer as soon as possible.