Maryland Underage DUI Lawyer

In Maryland, as in other states, the legal drinking age is 21. While anyone can get a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, Maryland holds zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Minors under 21 face the same legal consequences of DUI as their older counterparts, but they also face additional administrative restrictions with the MVA. If you or your child has been arrested for DUI under 21, find a Maryland underage DUI lawyer for legal and administrative representation or call and schedule a free consultation with a DUI lawyer in Maryland to discuss your case and how to proceed.

Working with an Underage DUI Lawyer in Maryland

If a minor is arrested for DUI, one of three things may happen:

  • If the driver is at least 18 years old but younger than 21, their DUI case will be handled in criminal court, just like any other DUI case
  • If the driver is under the age of 18, the DUI will be handled in juvenile court
  • Regardless of the age of the driver, they will be subject to the suspension, revocation, or restriction of their driver’s license

Because a driver under the age of 21 faces license suspension or restriction even with a BAC far below the 0.08 threshold for per se DUI in most cases, it is important to find a Maryland DUI lawyer who has worked with juvenile DUI cases and handled MVA hearings for DUI under 21.

An underage DUI attorney in Maryland may be able to get charges dismissed or reduced, negotiate probation before judgment (PBJ). They can provide legal counsel that allows you or your child to adequately prepare for court and put the best foot forward in criminal and administrative proceedings.

Maryland DUI under 21 Laws

Maryland has a zero tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking and driving. According to Maryland Code 16–113, the state puts an alcohol restriction on the driver’s licenses of all drivers under the age of 21. This means that no person under the age of 21 is legally allowed to drink any amount of alcohol before operating a motor vehicle. Because of this, a person under the age of 21 can lose their license with a BAC of 0.02 percent.

A BAC of 0.02 percent—often the equivalent of one drink or less—is unlikely to impair a driver. However, if a law enforcement officer pulls over an underage driver in a traffic stop, they may claim to detect the odor of alcohol as probable cause for asking the minor to submit to field sobriety testing.

If the driver’s BAC is 0.08 percent or greater, they will be subject to not only driver’s license suspension and restriction, but also criminal penalties as well. An underage DUI arrest can be stressful for both the driver and their parents. Securing representation from Maryland underage DUI attorney can give peace of mind that lets families know that this difficult experience does not have to affect a child for the rest of their life.

Process of Underage DUI

Everyone who is cited with a DUI goes to the district court in the county the person is in. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is also involved. 

By administrative power, the MVA can suspend a person’s driver’s license. When someone is under the influence, they face a suspension or may be required to have an ignition interlock on their vehicle. The imposition on a license is minor compared to the effects of a jail sentence. It is difficult to defend anyone in an MVA hearing when there is a breath test that shows alcohol. The evidentiary standard is substantially different. 


Administratively, a person looks at the preponderance of evidence. Preponderance means it is reasonable, it is possible. If law enforcement is able to stop the car, do field sobriety tests, and get a breath score, they have the evidence needed in court beyond a reasonable doubt.  

The license for a person under the age of 21 presumes that the person has no alcohol in their system. Technically, that means a person cannot be at 0.02 or higher. A person could be at 0.005 or 0.01, but 0.02 is exceptionally low. That is the legal limit for someone under 21 and is a small number compared to 0.08 for someone above the age of 21. That is how strict the law is on someone under the age of 21. 

Underage DUI Defense in Maryland

Juvenile DUI or DUI under 21 can be frightening, but with sound legal counsel and preparedness from a Maryland underage DUI lawyer, you and your family can navigate the process with confidence. Call today to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation.