You can be arrested and charged with a crime if you are caught drinking and driving before the age of 21. In addition, you may be charged with multiple things like a DUI and under-age alcohol consumption. Read on for the things you should know about these charges.
DUI Charges in General
In all states, a person (of any age) can be arrested and charged with DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures at or above .08%.
You can also be charged with DWI if you were under the influence of other substances such as opioids, marijuana, and other commonly abused drugs. Often, drivers are asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests and the arrests can be made on the basis of those tests and the law enforcement officer's evaluation of the suspect. If an arrest occurs, blood tests at a medical facility or the jail will confirm the presence (or not) of illegal substances.
Offenders should consider an arrest for a DUI a wake-up call and examine their drinking habits to determine whether or not inpatient rehabilitation might be needed to get a handle on their drinking.
Under-Age Alcohol Consumption Charges
Even if your BAC is lower than .08%, you can be charged with under-aged alcohol use if you are under the age of 21. That means that the BAC is any measurable amount, even minute amounts, and are enough to warrant an arrest
4. You don't necessarily need to be driving a vehicle or even in a vehicle to be charged with under-aged drinking. You might be charged just by the officer observing you drinking at a bar or restaurant, for example. The observation gives the officer probable cause to do a portable breathalyzer test on a suspect. Other common places where people get arrested for under-aged drinking include parties, beaches, parks, on the street, and more.
In most cases, the punishment for under-aged alcohol use is a misdemeanor and offenders are seldom jailed for more than a night or so. That being said, the punishment can increase based on accompanying factors like the below:
- Accidents with injuries.
- Resisting arrest or fleeing from arrest.
- Previous under-age drinking charges.
While offenders may not go to jail, they may be required to undergo alternatives like community service, counseling, random alcohol testing, and more. This charge may be only a misdemeanor, but not all offenders are able to be included in special programs that permit alternative punishment.
Speak to a criminal law attorney about your DWI or under-aged drinking charges today.