Sometimes, when people are young, they make foolish choices, such as getting behind the wheel of the car after drinking. Teenagers make careless and reckless decisions without thinking of the possible consequences. A lot of young people might assume that police officers and courts will let them off with just a warning or a slight slap on the wrist. Unfortunately, Arizona courts might not be so lenient in regard to underage drinking.
If you or your child is facing underage drinking and driving charges, you could face harsh legal penalties if you are not represented by a respected DUI attorney. Working with a Citrus Park underage DUI lawyer could give you the best chance of protecting your legal rights.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 4-244(34), if someone under the age of 21 has any alcohol in their body, they cannot drive or be in physical control of a car. Unlike with adults, who can face criminal charges if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, there is no level that is acceptable for minors. If a minor has even the slightest trace of alcohol in their system, they could face criminal charges.
State courts generally treat first-time offenses as Class 1 misdemeanors. Offenders face a maximum jail sentence of 6 months and a fine of up to $2,500. Courts often exercise their discretion with first-time offenders. They might not receive a jail sentence, but they could still face heavy penalties, such as fines, probation, mandatory attendance at an alcohol education class, and a mandatory suspension of their driver’s license. In addition, the defendant would have a criminal conviction on their permanent record. With a conviction, a person might face a harder time obtaining loans for college or applying to jobs.
If there are aggravating circumstances, such as if another person suffers an injury in a car crash, the defendant could also face more serious charges.
If the defendant has been convicted of the same offense within two years, they could face sentencing guidelines based on the next higher class of offense, which means that a court could sentence the defendant under felony sentencing guidelines.
A well-informed local defense attorney could explain how the relevant sentencing guidelines might apply to a particular defendant.
Grand Canyon Law Group could review the facts of the situation and help a young person and their family determine the best defensive strategy. They work tirelessly and aggressively to search for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case in order to work towards a dismissal or reduction of the charges.
One potential defense is to attack the admissibility and validity of the evidence. For instance, a lawyer could check to see if the police violated the defendant’s rights during the traffic stop or arrest. They can also see if the chemical breathalyzer test was administered incorrectly, or if the blood alcohol test was flawed.
Because the stakes are so high, it is in the best interest of anyone facing underage drunken driving charges to fight aggressively. Working with Grand Canyon Law Group could give you the best chance of preserving your reputation and protecting your future. Our team could call upon their years of experience to help you get through this challenging time.
Call a Citrus Park underage DUI lawyer today to begin working on a solid defense strategy.