Underage DUI Penalties in Howard County
While it is well known that 21 is the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol, frequently, some individuals under 21 still partake in alcohol. In Howard County, the police are very focused on both preventing and persecuting underage drinking. During prom season and graduation, the police will put up warnings for teens and their parents of the consequences of underage drinking.
The reason Howard County police and prosecutors consider underage drinking a great risk is because underage drinking often leads to poor decisions. Teens are at greater risk for driving under the influence. Additionally, law enforcement officials already view teens as impressionable young adults making poor decisions. In order to curb this behavior, they want to send a strong message, which is generally done through severe penalties.
When Howard County police work with students they are constantly seeking to prevent drinking and driving, making sure students are constantly aware of the dangers of a DUI. Underage drinking is dangerous for anyone, and is even more dangerous for someone driving after consuming alcohol.
If you have been charged with an underage DUI in Howard County, contact an underage DUI lawyer to learn more and get started with a free consultation for your case.
Imprisonment and Fine Penalties
Those charged with an underage DUI will face severe penalties. Additionally, if the Howard County police find a fake ID they will add more charges to an individual’s underage DUI case.
Those charged with an underage DUI could face up to one year in jail and a maximum of $1,000 fine. That would be for the Maryland statute § 21-902 A1 and A2. If a person has been charged with driving while impaired (DWI) they could face up to a 60-day sentence in jail and a $500 fine. While the penalties are the same for a DUI and an underage DUI, it will garner more attention because of the age of the individual. Generally, if a person has a BAC under 0.08, and is under the age of 21, they will likely face two months in jail and $500.00 fine. If there are people in the car, this will most likely raise the jail time and fine a person will face.
If a person is under the age of 21 and has a BAC of 0.02, they can be cited for driving under the influence. This is a quarter of the legal limit for those over 21, who are charged only if they register a BAC of 0.08 or more. The state of Maryland, as well as the Maryland MVA, feels that anyone driving under the age of 21 with any alcohol in their system whatsoever should be punished in a substantial way.
Probation Before Judgement
The alternative to jail is a very long probationary period with perfect compliance, otherwise, they will put the person in jail. This is called Probation Before Judgement (PBJ). A Probation Before Judgment sentence generally hinges on a DUI that does not have an accident, is driving at a reasonable speed and is a fairly straightforward DUI.
A PBJ will remain on a person’s record and does not come off; it is not eligible for expungement under current Maryland expungement law.
However, because a PBJ does not result in a conviction, a person will not have to report it at any school, employment, housing, et cetera applications, but it will come up on a background check.
A person’s license will not accrue points and the underage DUI will not be reported to their insurance company. In the case a person pursues the chance to drive a commercial or company vehicle, they would be seen as a liability. Someone who has had a prior incident at a very young age will be looked at as someone who already is a troubled drinker.
Additional Alternatives to Jail
The suspension of a person’s license will be forthcoming. Alternatives to jail would be a probation period partnered with an alcohol education program or local community service. This is done through the Howard County courts with the idea that a person will give back to the community what they have taken away from it. Additionally, a judge may require the defendant to attend MADD Victim Impact Panel and shock trauma visit.
A lot of judges will require a written essay or attendance of AA meetings while keeping a diary. There is no stipulation as to what the judge must do, but a lot of them do try to do a little bit extra.
Improving the Court Experience
The judge will want to see a person charged with an underage DUI in Howard County is still of good moral character and this incident was an aberration of their character. Additionally, the judges want to see contrition, and for the defendant to be apologetic and remorseful, as well as proactive by starting on alcohol education prior to the judge’s orders.
An experienced underage DUI attorney will know what the judge will want to see and be able to advise on important actions the person accused should take.