According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an incredible 43.8 percent of Arizona teenagers drink alcohol. As a parent, this news can be quite alarming – especially if your teen is a licensed driver. What happens if your child makes the decision to drink and then get behind the wheel? This type of risky behavior can lead to a number of consequences. Today, we’ll explore what happens when an underage driver is caught under the influence of alcohol.
Arizona Underage DUI Laws
Under regular circumstances, Arizona law tolerates a driver with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.8 or less. This, of course, assumes that the driver is an adult of the legal drinking age of 21 or older. Underage drivers, however, are held to a different standard. Arizona’s “zero tolerance” policy mandates that minors can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol if their Blood Alcohol Content is at 0.01% or higher. For this reason, the team at Schill Law Group has handled many cases where a teen driver was charged with trace amounts of alcohol in his or her system.
It is important for parents and minors alike to be aware of the law. Even in situations where you might want to allow a minor to consume a very small quantity of wine for religious purposes such as communion or Seder, it’s advisable to reconsider. Not only is it illegal to provide a minor with alcohol, you could be putting your child into harm’s way by allowing him or her to drive after ingesting said alcohol. Any amount of alcohol found in an underage driver’s system could lead to an arrest.
In the event that a minor is pulled over and charged with an underage DUI, you may be wondering what happens next. In Arizona, this will depend on both the severity of the driver’s impairment and the number of past offenses. The potential consequences for a first offense include:
- Up to six months in juvenile detention or jail
- Extensive court fines and fees up to $2,500
- Class 1 misdemeanor charge
- Suspension of driving license for up to two years
- Mandatory drivers education classes
Second and Multiple Offenses
If an underage driver is charged with a DUI more than once, he or she will face harsher consequences. These second-time offenders create dangerous conditions for themselves, their passengers, and other drivers on the road, and a judge is much less likely to look upon these risky actions with much leniency. Amongst other things, an underage driver may receive jail time, the extended suspension of his or her driver’s license, and larger fines. In cases where a minor has been charged with a DUI multiple times, it’s very important to hire an experienced DUI attorney. We never advise attempting to represent yourself after multiple charges have been received.