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Maryland Underage DUI Lawyer

The consequences of a DUI have lasting effects on the life of anyone charged. However, this remains especially true for alleged offenders who are underaged and charged with a DUI. The subsequent challenges with the Maryland Vehicle Administration could prove costly and time-consuming. Worse yet, the impacts on an underaged driver’s record could prove troublesome later in life. If you feel as though you need help navigating the legal system and want an attorney who could represent you in court, then you need to connect with a Maryland underage DUI lawyer. An attorney could draft a defense, negotiate with the prosecution, and work toward a favorable resolution.

Laws Pertaining to Individuals Under 21 Who Are Pulled Over for Suspicion of a DUI

As far as the criminal law, it is pretty similar for minors and adults. The difference is the allowable amount of alcohol in a person’s system. For individuals who are over 21, they may not drive if they are under the influence of alcohol or are impaired by alcohol. They are considered to be per se under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08%. If they have more alcohol than that in their system, it is illegal.

For people under 21, the law is zero tolerance which means if they are found with any amount of alcohol in their system, it could be considered driving under the influence (DUI). The rules about driving while impaired applies to a person under 21 the same way they apply to a person over 21. However, the penalties for someone under 21 could be different and the consequences with the Motor Vehicle Administration on the person’s driver’s license could be different.

Someone under 21 may not drive while impaired. Maryland does not have a separate statute or separate law for underage DUI, but the laws that are in place apply the same and the penalties can be more severe for someone who is convicted of DUI if they are under 21.

What Factors Determine Impairment with an Underage Driver

The factors to determine impairment with an underage driver are really the same as someone who is over 21. One of the most direct indicators is a biological test. That is usually done through a breathalyzer test that could detect alcohol in a person’s blood based on a breath sample. Other methods are a blood test or a urine test which reveal directly the amount of alcohol in a person’s system regardless of age. The legal limit for someone under 21 is zero. For someone over 21, it is 0.08% of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream.

Law enforcement also looks at how a person is driving:

• If they are driving erratically
• If they are driving recklessly
• If they are serving
• If they were speeding

When the driver is pulled over, the officers would observe the person’s demeanor and physical appearance. If someone exhibits signs of intoxication or other influence, then an officer may then administer a test and proceed within the bounds of the law. If someone’s eyes are red, if speech is slurred, if there appears to be something wrong, an officer may then administer a field tests and charged the driver depending on the results.

A field sobriety test is administered the same for someone under 21 or over 21. The circumstantial factors are essentially the same regardless of their age.

BAC Limits

The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for minors in Maryland is 0.02. There is zero tolerance for any under 21 to be drinking and driving.  The 0.02 limit accounts for flaws in the testing equipment or results influenced by non-alcoholic factors.  For most people, one drink – a bottle or can of beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of liquor – will result in a BAC above -0.02.  Minors cannot have any alcohol in their system because it is not lawful to consume alcohol when one is under 21.

The legal limit for an adult is 0.08 percent blood alcohol level. If an adult is over 21 and driving with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit, they might be impaired. If they are not impaired, they are not committing a crime. As soon as one is driving with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 percent, it is per se criminal. For a minor, there is no legally allowable amount of alcohol in their system.

How Maryland Counties Treat Underage DUIs Differently

There is a lot of variance in Maryland between different counties in terms of how underage DUIs are treated, and the same arrest and charge in Prince George’s County might result in different outcomes for the exact same set of circumstances for a DUI charge in Saint Mary’s County. This is why a person would want an attorney who is familiar with the local practice, the standard outcomes, and with the prosecutor and the judge involved in the case. An underage DUI could have significantly more types of consequences in terms of what restrictions would be on someone’s driving privileges and what potential conditions of probation might be. It is important to have a Maryland underage DUI lawyer who understands and is able to explain all the potential consequences so a defendant could make the most informed decision possible.

Why Working with a Maryland DUI Lawyer for Underaged Defendants is so Important

DUIs are serious charges and when someone under 21 has a DUI charge, and alleged offenders may suffer additional consequences. One of the main consequences is more severe penalties from the Motor Vehicle Administration on a person’s driving privileges when someone is under 21 and charged with a DUI. Those MVA Laws and Regulations are exceptionally technical and complicated, and the DUI laws are equally complicated. It is important to speak with an experienced defense attorney who knows how to navigate those laws and regulations and could navigate them to obtain a favorable outcome for the client.

Another important reason to have an experienced Maryland underage DUI lawyer is regarding the plea offers. Sentences for someone who is underage and charged with a DUI tend to be more involved and more individualized to a person’s situation. It is important to have an attorney who advocates for a person’s individual needs and concerns, someone who would take the time to understand their client’s situation, understand what sentencing options are available, and is able to advocate effectively to resolve a case favorably. Do not waste time, contact your defense attorney today.

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