The legal drinking age in the country is 21, but that does not mean that everyone who drinks is of age. When you are not at home, this also means that not everyone who gets pulled over for DUI is over 21. There are plenty of opportunities for underage drinking and driving, and if you are not 21 and get pulled over you stand just as much of a chance of being arrested for DUI as does a person who is over the legal drinking age. In fact, you may stand even more of a chance of facing these charges, because there are some differences between underage drinking and driving and other DUI cases.
The first difference between a “normal” DUI and one where the driver is not yet 21 is that the legal limit is lower. If you are under 21, the legal limit is .02%. This is quite a bit lower than the statutory limit of .08% for those drivers who are at least 21. Two other ways underage drinking and driving differs from other DUI cases are:
- If you have other people in the car with you that are not yet 21, and those people are found to have been drinking too, you might be charged with distributing alcohol to minors, or if you still have alcohol with you, you can face a minor in possession charge.
- If you used a fake ID to buy the alcohol, you can be charged with possession of a fake ID.
The lower legal limit, along with additional charges that might be made against you, makes an underage DUI case much different from other DUI cases. This is not to say that underage DUI cases cannot be defended, but your approach will be different than if you are over 21. And while all DUI cases deserve a good defense, when you are underage you have the added need of keeping your record clean for school or work. It can be harmful to have to disclose a DUI arrest on a college application, or when seeking part time work as a student. We know that everyone makes mistakes, and work hard to ensure the mistakes of youth don’t follow you around forever. If you are under 21 and have been charged with DUI, all our office to find out what to do next.
For help with defending underage drinking and driving or MIP charges, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.