Arizona is known for having tough anti-drinking and driving laws. When it comes to punishing people convicted of DUI under age 21, this reputation is definitely deserved.
Arizona’s juvenile DUI law
As most of our readers already know, the legal minimum drinking age is 21, and 16 is the age you can receive a graduated driver’s license. The law treats people who are old enough to drive but not old enough to drink differently than older drivers. For one thing, the legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers 21 and older is .08 percent. For underage motorists, driving with “any spirituous liquor” in their bodies is grounds for arrest. Many other states set the BAC limit for juveniles at .02 percent.
Also, a conviction for underage DUI can lead to jail time and losing your driver’s license for nearly a year, even for a first offense. The statute provides a possible sentence of up to ten days in jail, along with a driver’s license suspension lasting up to 360 days. Finally, the judge can order up to $1,600 in fines. To compare, in Colorado, a first offense results in a three-month license suspension, a fine and community service.
The human side of an underage DUI arrest
Many teenage drivers arrested for DUI have never been in trouble with the law before. They are college or high school students who made a mistake. Then there are those whom the police wrongly accused of drinking and driving or somehow violated the young person’s rights.
Just like anybody else, someone accused of juvenile DUI in the Tempe area has the right to a defense attorney’s help. An experienced lawyer can help your teen son or daughter take on the charges and fight for a fair outcome.