Under 18 Annapolis DUI Lawyer
It can be rare to see DUI charges for individuals under the age of 18 as it does not happen very often. The presumption is that anyone who is a juvenile would be charged with a DUI, and then their matter would be referred to juvenile courts. However, that is not always the case, as these matters can be bumped up to District Court if the state files to have it moved. A person’s attorney can try to get the case back into a juvenile setting, but there is no legal requirement that the DUI case be heard at juvenile court. Therefore, it is very difficult to know for certain where the case will go and how this will impact the outcome.
Because of the uncertainties concerning DUI offenses and minors in Annapolis, it is important to work with an experienced underage DUI attorney who can help to navigate the complicated legal process and best protect your son or daughter’s rights in their case.
Offenses Involving Minors
If a person is under 18, the juvenile court system is in place and they certainly would hope that the matter could stay there, but it does not have to. Furthermore, in terms of the administrative side, the DUI case would still certainly be with the MVA, making these types of penalties severe. However, regarding the criminal aspect, the case would generally go to the juvenile system.
The BAC level would also, as for anyone under the age of 21, would be reduced from 0.08 to 0.02, which is extremely strict. With regards to the penalties, the juvenile system is where a person should hope the matter will be decided. The BAC level required to prove influence does not differentiate further by age. In the case of a minor testing for a DUI, under 21 is under 21.
Process of Arrest
The process for a person getting a DUI in Annapolis under the age of 18 is the same process that anyone under the age of 21 would go through. As far as the vehicle stop goes, including the officer’s investigation of the individual as well as the standard field sobriety test, all of these things similarly come into play. Every aspect of the DUI case is going to be the same, and all of the evidence that needs to be collected or observed by the officer remains the same.
However, the expectation that the juvenile system has a lighter hand is misguided. Cases are still heard in front of a magistrate judge who has just as much power to put a person in jail as a regular judge. The presumption is that there will be a lot of options of community service and outreach programs, and there will be. However, the timeline for the duration of these programs can certainly be greater for juvenile courts than in regular courts.
Minors are not afforded any administrative protection, except for the fact that juvenile cases can be sealed records. However, in a lot of ways, judges in juvenile courts will try to send even stronger messages and impose even stricter penalties.
Every DUI case, no matter the age of the defendant, should be treated in the same manner. The departure in the conversation of differences would be that it is a juvenile court matter, and can include direct parental involvement. The job of an attorney is not to judge an individual, though it must be communicated to the client how serious the matter may be. However, DUI lawyers want to gather all of their resources and get their clients in the best education and assessments as possible in order to assuage the judge. Incorporating many different tools is often necessary, even more so than an attorney would for a general DUI for someone of legal drinking age.
The focus of juvenile courts is rehabilitation, and the goal is for the individual to not make the same mistakes again. However, the absolute supervision of what goes on is done in a way that really zeroes in on a person, their home, and their family in making sure that they are in a position to succeed.
Therefore, juvenile courts in Annapolis want to stop the criminal activity early, and they do not want to see it repeated. That is their presumption in a juvenile matter. For example, in a DUI case, if a child is already drinking under the age of 18, they should not be, and this behavior must be corrected. Alcohol can do a considerable amount of damage not only to a person’s brain and overall health, but also to their relationships, success in work and school, and more.
If a person is going to continue to hurt themselves in this way deliberately, while having access to something under the age of 18 that is so dangerous and get behind the wheel of a car, then the opportunities for criminal activity in the future, without intervention, are numerous. In Annapolis DUI cases involving minors, the magistrate judge will typically give the defendant a lecture and a strong penalty to remind them that this should never happen again.
Parents should expect to be involved in a DUI case in Annapolis involving their minor, and many lawyers deliberately try to involve them as much as possible in the entire process. Parents are expected to be in court, meet with the attorney, and know they have a very important role in the case. A judge will want to see parents present as adult role models that the defendant can look up to. Judges also want to see that the defendant has good standing in the community, and this helps when the parents are present and involved.
Parents should also expect to be asked questions about their child’s behavior and any alcohol or drug use. Is the child attending school? Do they drink alcohol or drugs, and if so, where do they have access to it? Do the parents work or stay at home? These are all questions the judge may want to consider. Parents playing an active role in the case is essential.
Contacting an Attorney
DUI charges for minors in Annapolis are very serious. Individuals certainly need to have an attorney that is there to be able to handle everything for them. There is no reason to not have a skilled DUI lawyer that is able to handle every aspect of the case and any developments that may come up. Attorneys need to show the judge that the individual is taking the case seriously, especially if it is for an offense like a DUI that is normally associated with adults.