Driving under the influence is a serious enough offense. However, when you add in underage drinking, you or your loved one are now facing two charges: The first is driving under the influence, which is against the law for any driver. The second, of course, is the consumption of alcohol or liquor prior to reaching the legal drinking age.
If you are under the age of 21, you can have no more than a .02% blood alcohol level if you are operating a vehicle. If you have been charged with underage drinking, you will need a skilled Spokane criminal defense attorney by your side right away. Count on the team at Twyford Law Office.
Give us a call to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us at (509) 327-0777.
What is a Minor DUI?
A minor DUI isn’t exactly the same charge as a DUI – in fact, a driver under 21 years of age can still be charged with a DUI and will be if they are considered intoxicated while driving. However, if they aren’t intoxicated but have a blood alcohol level over .02, they will instead be charged with a “Minor Operating Motor Vehicle Over .02” or “Driver Under Twenty-One Consuming Alcohol.” This charge is sometimes shortened and referred to as simply a “Minor DUI,” “Minor Op,” or even a “Baby DUI.”
Being Charged With a Minor DUI
A minor DUI is a misdemeanor (RCW 46.61.503). It is punishable by a fine of anywhere from $0 to $1,000 and 0-90 days in jail. It doesn’t carry any mandatory fines or jail time, nor does it have an ignition interlock device requirement. However, there is a mandatory license suspension for 90 days after a minor DUI, which is a result of Washington’s Implied Consent Law.
Also, if you face a DUI later in life, the judge trying your case might take your minor DUI into consideration when determining your punishment. A minor DUI also brings with it a requirement for “high risk” insurance.
Being put in the “high risk” category simply means you are a high risk when it comes to insurance. In the insurance company’s point of view, you are more likely to be in an accident, which is what constitutes the change in category. Of course, being high risk makes your insurance more expensive.
To help reduce your costs eventually, you can:
Ask your insurance agent for approved defensive driving courses and take a class
Go at least three years without getting another ticket or traffic violation
Go accident-free for at least three years
What Other Charges Might an Underage Drinker Face?
In addition to a minor DUI charge, a surge in insurance costs, losing your license, and possible fines, an underage drinker might also face:
Child endangerment violations
Minor in possession of alcohol
Distributing alcohol to minors – this charge might come about if there were other underage drinkers in the car at the time
Possession of false identification – this is applicable if the driver used false or fake identification to purchase alcohol
Vehicle maintenance and moving violations
Work with a Spokane Underage Drinking Attorney
Facing a criminal conviction of a DUI is a scary situation, no matter your age. However, if you’re under 21, a criminal charge is even scarier. The underage drinking lawyers at Twyford Law Office understand how to fight these charges. We know everyone makes mistakes and we don’t want you to pay forever for a mistake you made in one moment of poor judgment.
Contact us at (509) 327-0777 to learn more about underage drinking and how we can help you fight a DUI conviction as someone less than 21 years of age.