Baltimore Underage DUI Attorney
Legally, a person can get a driver’s license in their mid-teens, but no one can drink alcohol until they turn 21. While most people know that 21 is the legal drinking age in Maryland and across the United States, plenty of drivers are still arrested for underage drinking and driving.
The State of Maryland holds a zero-tolerance policy for people who drink and drive who are younger than 21. Under-21 adults who fail a breath test can face criminal penalties for drinking and driving over a much lower BAC than legal adults. They can also face harsh administrative restrictions from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Association. If you’ve been arrested for an underage DUI, it’s crucial to team up with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer in Baltimore who has experience resolving underage alcohol charges.
Alcohol Restrictions on Your Maryland Driver’s License
In Maryland, driver’s licenses for those who are younger than 21 years of age have an alcohol restriction. The restriction signals that the license holder may not operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. This BAC level is just a quarter of the legal standard across the country for people who are 21 and older, meaning it takes less alcohol in your system to break the law.
If you do register a BAC of 0.02%, you could face penalties that are as severe or worse than if you had received a DUI at 21 or older. Your DUI could work out one of two ways depending on whether you’re 18 or older or a minor.
Administrative Penalties for an Underage DUI
A minor who is arrested for DUI who is less than 18 years of age will have their case handled in juvenile court. Those who are 18 or older will be tried as adults in criminal court. Regardless of a driver’s age, they will be subjected to a license suspension by the MVA and may also face a suspension of driving privileges as part of their criminal sentence.
- First-Offense Underage DUI: 6-month license suspension
- Second-Offense Underage DUI: driver’s license revocation
Suspension vs. Revocation of Driver’s License
Some people use the terms “suspension” and “revocation” interchangeably when discussing driving privileges; however, there is a significant difference between the related terms. A suspended license is a temporary restriction on your driver’s license. Usually, the MVA designates a period of time in which you may not legally drive a vehicle. The MVA will usually lift your suspension when you take action on a traffic matter. Actions may include resolving a traffic ticket, attending DUI school, or installing an ignition interlock device.
When the MVA revokes your driver’s license, it means they have permanently canceled your driving privilege. You will need to take several actions to move past a revocation, including applying for a new license. A license revocation may occur if you’ve been convicted of multiple DUIs or criminal traffic violations.
Possible Criminal Penalties for an Under-21 DUI
A DUI case often feels like two cases in one because of the fact that two entities may impose penalties: the Maryland MVA and the State of Maryland. If you’re convicted of an under-21 DUI, criminal penalties may include:
- Incarceration for a period of up to one year in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- 12 points on your driver’s license
- Probation is possible
As a young offender, the judge might perceive that you have little to no regard for the law. With the representation of a skilled underage DUI lawyer, your charges may be reduced or dropped. Your lawyer will guide you on taking the steps necessary to gain a favorable impression. If you are ultimately convicted of an alcohol offense, your lawyer may advise you on an alcohol rehabilitation program that can help your case or DUI school.
Overcoming an Underage DUI in Baltimore
A juvenile DUI or DUI under 21 can be an upsetting experience. Whether you’re facing a DUI as a minor or you have a child under 21 facing a DUI charge, The Law Office of Hillel Traub can help you take the first step in resolving your case with confidence.
Attorney Hillel Traub has represented drivers in Baltimore and surrounding areas for more than 20 years. Having worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the MVA, he has extensive knowledge on the administration’s inner workings that can benefit your case. Call (410) 580-1100 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.