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Underage drunk driving can have severe consequences

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | DUI

For anyone in Kitsap County, being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can open the door to a host of problems. This is challenging for anyone, but it can be worse for those who are under 21 and are just starting out in their lives.

Since there are many young people who are attending college and going to sporting events, gatherings and more where alcohol is available, there will be the temptation to drink. Some might decide to get behind the wheel after doing so.

Understanding the law for underage alcohol violations and DUI and what options are available to try and avoid the worst possible penalties is critical from the outset.

Understanding zero tolerance and other factors with underage DUI

State law says that people who register 0.08% or higher for their blood alcohol concentration will be charged with DUI. It is different for people under 21. Based on zero tolerance policies, if the underage person has 0.02% BAC, they will be charged with DUI.

Law enforcement will conduct a breath or blood test to determine if the person is under the influence based on the law.

There are specific facts those under 21 should know in these situations and how it can impact their future. Under zero tolerance, the driver’s license can be lost for 90 days. If there is another offense, it could be lost until they turn 21.

Simply being in possession of alcohol – known as minor in possession – can lead to a citation with a year incarceration, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

If people age 13 to 17 are caught and charged with alcohol offenses, they could lose their driver’s license for a year or until they turn 17 – whichever is longer. Simply trying to buy alcohol underage and having a false identification saying they are of age to purchase it can lead to fines and penalties.

DUI/DWI requires an individualized approach to the case and skill with the law

Law enforcement and prosecutors are required to prove their case. If there were problems with the way the investigation was conducted, the testing procedure was flawed or there was no justification for the investigation in the first place, this could help with reducing the charges or having them dropped entirely.

There is a temptation to look at every DUI/DWI case as if it is the same, especially when there were no injuries nor was there an accident. Still, being arrested and convicted of DUI can lead to myriad challenges in a person’s life regardless of age.

It is a negative mark on their record when they try to get jobs, be admitted to schools or the military. For those who are arrested when they are not even legally allowed to drink at all, these concerns are magnified.

It is imperative to have guidance that will look at the case on its individual merits and proceed with a tailored defense accordingly.