Under 21 DUI

Experienced Maricopa County Criminal Defense lawyer Defending Minors Charged with Drunk Driving Offenses

Seeing the red-and-blue lights of a police cruiser in your rear-view mirror is stressful, to say the least. However, if you are underage and had a few drinks before hopping into the driver’s seat, being pulled over can be panic-inducing. A conviction for an under 21 DUI can have a lasting impact on your life. It can limit your ability to get into school, land a job, or travel to certain countries. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Tempe DUI defense attorney has more than two decades of experience aggressively defending the rights of minors charged with DUI offenses.

Arizona’s Under 21 DUI Laws

Arizona has a zero-tolerance law when it comes to underage DUIs. Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 4-244(34), it is illegal for anyone under 21 years old to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while there is any trace of alcohol in their system. This means that a police officer can arrest you if you have even the slightest amount of alcohol in your system. It doesn’t matter if you were driving safely or if you didn’t feel drunk—all that matter is that your blood-alcohol content was something other than zero.

Underage DUI Penalties in Arizona

When it comes to penalties for an under 21 DUI, the law treats minors and adults the same. That is to say, unless you are under the age of 18 (meaning you are within the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system), driving under the influence of alcohol subjects you to the same punishments an adult would receive.

1st Offense Under 21 DUI
  • Driver’s license suspension for two years;
  • Up to $500 in fines and court costs;
  • Mandatory substance abuse education, screening & counseling; and
  • Mandatory community service.
2nd Offense Under 21 DUI
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Up to $500 in fines and court costs;
  • Mandatory substance abuse education, screening & counseling; and
  • Mandatory community service.

Of course, these are only the criminal consequences of a conviction. If you are convicted of an underage DUI in Arizona, your insurance rates will increase. In fact, the car insurance company may even cancel your policy. A conviction for DUI will also make it harder to go to school and will almost certainly limit your career possibilities because certain professional licenses are unavailable for those with a prior DUI conviction.

What to Do During a DUI Stop

If you are pulled over by a police officer after having even a single drink, it is imperative that you handle the traffic stop carefully, as making the wrong move can have drastic consequences. There are a few important things to remember during an under 21 DUI traffic stop:

  1. You need to provide the officer with your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information.
  2. You do not need to answer any of the officer’s questions.
  3. The officer cannot search your car unless they have probable cause to arrest you or believe you committed a crime.
  4. You can refuse an officer’s request to search your vehicle.
  5. You can refuse a breath test, but doing so will result in an automatic license suspension.
  6. You can request an attorney if you are arrested.
Are You Facing Minor DUI Charges in Arizona?

If you are under 21 and were pulled over and arrested for DUI, how you handle your case could have a major impact on the rest of your life. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have extensive experience defending adults and minors in all types of drunk driving offenses, as well as those involving marijuana DUIs and drug DUIs. With our help, you can rest assured that your case, your future and your freedom are all in good hands. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499.