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How might a DUI charge impact a person under 21?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | DUI and Traffic

Young people are prone to making mistakes. Before they turn 21 and are of legal age to drink alcohol, they are likely still finding their way in the world. They might be attending college or a trade school. They have newfound freedoms and enjoy being out on the social scene.

There is nothing illegal about that, nor is it wrong. Still, they could take part in behaviors that violate the law like drinking while underage. Some may make the situation worse by getting behind the wheel.

Idaho DUI law treats under-21 drivers differently from those who are 21 or older. The consequences they can face are liable to cause major challenges as they seek to advance in life. With that, it is vital to have experienced help to try and formulate an effective legal defense.

What does the law say about under-21 DUI?

According to Idaho law, a person under 21 who is tested and shows a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08% will be under the influence. For adults, the BAC level to justify a DUI charge is 0.08%. Since those under 21 are not allowed to legally drink at all, it is lower.

It will be a misdemeanor. For a first offense, they can be fined up to $1,000. Their driver’s license will be suspended for one year and they will not be allowed to drive for a minimum of 90 days. There can be no reduction in the 90-day penalty.

Once the 90 days have passed, the person can ask for restricted driving privileges. To be allowed to drive under these conditions, the person must show it is necessary. For example, if they must drive to get to work or school, then it can be allowed. They will need to take part in an alcohol evaluation.

If there was a guilty plea or guilty verdict for the DUI and the person is charged a subsequent time, it is another misdemeanor with harsher penalties. That will include jail for at least five days and as many as 30 days. There can be a fine of at least $500 and as much as $2,000.

They will lose their right to drive for up to two years with one year mandatory where they will not be allowed to drive at all. Once they can drive again, they must operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. The penalties will be worse if they are convicted after the second time.

People under 21 should have legal help when charged with DUI

Young people make mistakes. It is imperative that they do whatever they can to keep those mistakes from hindering them over the long term. While law enforcement is simply doing its job in investigating potential legal violations like underage DUI, it is wise for a person dealing with these situations to be aware of their rights. They might make clear errors and say too much out of fear and regret as to what is happening. This should be explored when crafting a legal case to combat the charges.

There may be alternatives to the worst penalties. It could be possible that the evidence is lacking or the driver has a justifiable reason that they appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs but were not. Knowing the DUI laws for people under 21, being cognizant of the penalties and assessing what can be done to reach a positive outcome without extended problems may require skilled advice.