We often hear news reports about people convicted of DUI charges or accidents caused as a result of drunk driving. While such crimes are very serious, they do not only impact those over 21. Unfortunately, underage drinking is an epidemic in the United States. Particularly amongst college students, rates of consumption are extremely high. Thus, it is important to understand the legal repercussions of underage drinking charges and the even more serious underage DUI charge.
While it illegal for all person’s 21 and older to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, this amount decreases significantly for drivers under age 21. Colorado’s zero tolerance law for underage drivers dictates that operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% and higher is illegal.
Can I Be Charged for a Crime?
First time offenders are not subject to as serious of consequences, only receiving a Colorado class A traffic infraction offense. Subsequent offenses carry more heat and include a criminal misdemeanor offense. Those under 21 must be aware of the sneaky ways they could be consuming alcohol without being aware. The no tolerance policy stays in place no matter how the alcohol was ingested even if it was something innocent such as accidently swallowing mouth wash or taking cold meds that contain alcohol. Additionally, be aware of what is in your vehicle as minors found with drug, alcohol, or marijuana in their possession are subject to minor in possession charges.
Underage DUI Consequences (UDD)
A UDD carries some serious ramifications for those who are convicted. Stiff penalties include fines up to $150, three-month license suspension, 4 points on your driving record, 24 hours of community service, as well as drug and alcohol assessment/treatment programs at your own expense.
For those who receive a second or subsequent offense, more serious consequences will be enforced. These can include a steep fine of up to $300, as well as incarceration lasting from 10-30 days.
Hiring a skilled DUI attorney will be crucial in fighting underage drinking and driving charges. Since these are considered a liability charge, there are fewer helpful defenses, although a skilled attorney can significantly help your defense. Underage DUI defenses most often utilize loopholes such as a stop being illegal, the officer overstepping your rights as he did not have reasonable cause to ask for a UDD breath test, unreliable breath test results, and being drugged without your knowledge. For a young person with a full life ahead, it is imperative to protect your future by engaging the help of an attorney.