Drinking alcohol is something many Arizona residents do socially or in private. There is a certain age that the state says you must be before you can legally partake in alcoholic beverages, and that is 21. Anyone younger than that who police find to have consumed alcohol or have in his or her possession may face some severe consequences.
What does Arizona law have to say about underage drinking and driving? What are the potential consequences if an underage person drives under the influence? Is there any way to fight underage DUI charges?
Arizona underage DUI laws
As previously stated, you must be over the age of 21 to drink in this state. While the law states that underage drinkers cannot have a blood-alcohol content higher than .02%, the truth is, there is a zero-tolerance policy here. This means that it does not matter what your blood-alcohol content is when tested. If alcohol is potentially in your system or you have it in your possession when pulled over by police, an arrest is highly likely.
What are the consequences of underage drinking?
It depends on the age of the driver. Those who are not minors can face the same consequences as those who are of drinking age. Potential penalties include:
- Loss of driving privileges
- Jail time
- Community service
- Ignition interlock device
- Court-ordered rehabilitation
The severity of the penalties issued is case dependent.
Is there a way to fight underage DUI charges?
Possibly, just as there are ways to fight DUI charges when not underage. Typically, legal counsel will question any evidence offered against you and then work to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, if possible. If achieving a case dismissal seems unlikely, it may be possible to seek a reduction in charges or alternative sentencing.
What about minors?
Criminal court does not typically handle cases involving minors, but rather the juvenile system handles them. While the purpose of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate rather than punish, it does not mean there are no consequences for minors who drink and drive.
Don’t let an underage DUI charge ruin your future
A conviction on an underage DUI charge can affect your life now and in the future. You don’t have to let it. With the right assistance, you can defend yourself, protect your rights and take steps to seek the best outcome possible.