In Mesa, like the rest of the country, drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. Not only is consuming alcohol underage a crime, but state law also prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while behind the wheel. This is known as the “not-a-drop” law and could get underage motorists in serious trouble in the instance of a DUI stop.
If you or an underage family member have been arrested for driving under the influence, it is essential to reach out to an experienced attorney right away. A Mesa underage DUI lawyer can help you defend these charges and mitigate the potential penalties that come with them. The time after an arrest is crucial, so do not hesitate to reach out to the dedicated team at Grand Canyon Law Group for help with fighting these charges.
For the most part, an underage DUI, often referred to as a “baby DUI,” is treated similarly to a regular charge for driving under the influence. You will be investigated, undergo the field-testing procedures, and likely give a portable breath test sample followed by either a blood draw or another breath test on an Intoxilyzer machine. Unlike an adult DUI, which requires a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, a baby DUI could be charged at lower levels because of the “not-a-drop” law.
The main difference between underage and regular DUIs is that those that are underage are typically charged with additional crimes over and above a DUI. Charges often include minor driving after drinking alcohol, which is a separate offense. You could also face charges of minor consumption of alcohol and minor possession of alcohol depending on the circumstances and the presence of liquor in the vehicle. There are also more serious driver’s license revocation effects for baby DUI’s. An experienced lawyer in Mesa can explain the potential legal repercussions of an underage DUI in more detail during an initial consultation.
If you are being charged with a DUI and are over 18 but under 21, your case will be handled in the Mesa Municipal Court or one of the Mesa Justice Courts: West Mesa Justice Court, North Mesa Justice Court, or East Mesa Justice Court. If you are a juvenile, meaning under age 18, then your case could be filed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in the Maricopa County Superior Court system, which is different than the City Court. This court specifically handles juvenile cases. A knowledgeable local attorney can provide more insight on how your case will proceed and where it will be held.
Prosecutors take underage DUI cases very seriously in Mesa. It is not uncommon for the prosecution to push for additional consequences and convictions as a way to punish people for drinking and driving underage.
Some of these additional consequences include those involving the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD.) If you are convicted of underage drinking and driving, your license will be suspended by the MVD for two years. Adults charged with DUIs do not face these same consequences.
It is crucial to recognize that there are defenses to these charges. If the officer did not have a valid reason to stop the vehicle or committed errors during the investigation, these could serve as solid defenses for a baby DUI. Inaccurate testing procedures could also be used as a defense. A seasoned lawyer can examine all of the factors of a case to build the strongest possible defense in an underage DUI case.
DUI charges can be overwhelming, especially when you are underage. You may be facing long-term consequences, including the revocation of your license. Fortunately, a Mesa underage DUI lawyer understands the nature of these cases and can help you get your life back on track.
At Grand Canyon Law Group, we will take the time to assess your case, build a robust defense, and defend your rights tirelessly in court. Our former prosecutors turned defense attorneys know exactly what to expect from the prosecution, so you can rest assured that you are receiving a high quality of care. To learn more about what we could do for you, schedule a free consultation today.