Annapolis Underage DUI

In the State of Maryland, there is an exceptionally low level of leniency for anyone under 21, due to the public safety risk but also because a person under the age of 21 cannot legally be drinking. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for a driver age 21 and over is .08 in Maryland. However, state law lowers the BAC level to .02 for an underage DUI in Annapolis, which is a much stricter standard. Therefore, if you or a loved one are under 21 and charged with driving under the influence, contact an experienced Annapolis underage DUI attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense.

Police Stop

A DUI stop is a DUI stop, no matter if the person is of legal drinking age. An officer does not know the age the individual he or she pulls over – the first indicator for a DUI stop is observation of the vehicle alone. A vehicle that is in violation of a transportation article, such as speeding, failing to stop at a red light, weaving, crossing the center line, not using headlights in the dark, and other traffic violations are things that officers look for in making DUI stops. Taking notice of the age of the individual driving is typically the second phase of a DUI stop.

Case Process

All DUIs, including underage DUIs in Annapolis, are handled the same way in court. The driver must have been stopped due to the police offer observing illegal or impaired driving, and the officer makes his or her findings or assumptions based on the standard field sobriety test and contact with the person.

For an officer to arrest someone on DUI charges, he or she must have a legal basis for doing so. Officers must prove they made a legal stop based on observation and/or violation of traffic laws, and they also must prove that they had sufficient contact with the person they stopped in order to have reasonable suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The proper procedures for a standard field sobriety test must also be performed, and in the correct location and conditions. All of these factors are taken into account when an officer decides he or she can arrest a person for an underage DUI in Annapolis.

The process does not change if the person arrested is under the age of 21. The only thing that is different is that a person under the age of 21 must only have a BAC of .02, not the typical .08 level.

DUI cases both for people ages 21 and over and people under the age of 21 are heard in the district court and warrant immediate attention from an underage DUI lawyer in Annapolis.

Penalties

The penalties remain the same in an underage DUI charge in Annapolis. The law does not enhance DUI penalties because a person is under the age of 21. However, the state attorneys and/or the judge may be much less lenient with someone who is under the age of 21 because he or she should not have been drinking alcohol in the first place.

Multiple charges can begin to stack up when a person under the age of 21 is involved, including penalties for having a fake ID or having alcohol in the vehicle. As these charges increase, the leniency of the judge is likely to decrease, since the person violated both public trust and safety, but also common sense. A person who is under 21 can look very dangerous in the eyes of many judges, since he or she will likely lack experience with both alcohol and driving in general. As a result, it is imperative that those accused consult with a Annapolis underage DUI lawyer.