DUI Under 21
Drunk driving is a serious charge, no matter who you are. However, for minors, getting a DUI under 21 not only puts them at risk of a criminal record but also limits so many opportunities that would otherwise be available. Defending against a DUI charge is possible, however. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Maricopa County DUI defense attorney has more than 25 years of experience successfully resolving DUI cases on behalf of those under 21. We take a strategic approach to every case we handle, thoroughly considering all possible options before deciding on the one that fits your situation best.Arizona Zero Tolerance Law for Under 21 DUIs
Arizona, like many states, has passed a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Under the applicable law, anyone under the age of 21 is not permitted to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle if they have any alcohol in their system. Thus, it doesn’t matter if your blood alcohol content was under .08 (the legal limit for adults) or if the alcohol did not impact your ability to drive. As long as you have alcohol in your system, it’s a crime.What Is the Penalty for a DUI Under 21?
If you are under 21 and convicted of a DUI offense, the courts apply the same punishments as they do for adult DUIs. For a first offense, a common sentence includes the following:
- Two-year suspension of your driver’s license;
- Up to $500 in fines and court costs;
- Mandatory substance abuse education, screening & counseling; and
- Mandatory community service.
If you have a prior DUI and are convicted of a second DUI while you are still under the age of 21, the sentence you face will be more severe and may include a jail sentence of up to 30 days.Can You Get a Restricted License After a DUI Under 21?
Yes, it is possible to obtain a restricted license which will allow you to drive between your home, work, and school. However, the court is under no obligation to give you a restricted license. Further, even if the court grants you a restricted license, you will need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.Defenses to DUI Charges
DUIs, like all other criminal offenses, have many defenses that may either result in the case being withdrawn, a not guilty verdict, or being found in violation of a less serious offense. For example, one of the most common defenses in a DUI case involves challenging the police officer's actions leading up to your arrest. Law enforcement officers must respect your constitutional rights while they are investigating a possible DUI. If they violate your rights, any evidence they recover as a result of the traffic stop is inadmissible at trial.
Other common defenses to baby DUI offenses include:
- Officers lacked probable cause to demand you take a chemical test;
- Officers violated your right to counsel;
- Officers failed to properly conduct field sobriety testing;
- The lab made an error when processing your test results; and
- Undocumented chain of custody of chemical test evidence.
An experienced Maricopa County DUI defense attorney can help those facing these serious charges determine the best possible defense for their case.Are You Facing DUI Charges?
If you are a minor, a DUI under 21 can have profound consequences on your future, and it is imperative you do everything possible to avoid a conviction. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have more than two decades of hands-on experience aggressively defending the rights of minors charged with serious DUI offenses. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Attorney James Novak at (480) 413-1499. The Law Office of James Novak proudly defends clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Scottsdale, Gilbert and other surrounding cities in Maricopa County.