Being pulled over and charged with DUI is not something that just happens to people over 21. There are plenty of drivers who are not old enough to drink legally, but are able to get a hold of some alcohol and then get behind the wheel of their car. The consequences of a DUI are harsh enough, but can be even more so if you have not yet reached the legal drinking age. The thought process behind imposing a stricter punishment on an underage driver is that many young drivers have less experience with the actual act of driving, and when alcohol is added to the mix the results can often include serious auto accidents. In order to deter this type of behavior, the punishment for an underage drinker who also drives can be significant.
One key difference for an underage drinker being charged with DUI is that the legal limit is lower: .02%. This is quite a difference from the legal limit for a driver over the age of 21, which is .08%. Some other things to expect if you are under 21 and charged with drinking and driving or Minor In Possession (MIP), include:
• Distributing alcohol to minors if you also had passengers with you that are not 21.
• Possession of a fake ID, if you used one to make the alcohol purchase.
We understand that mistakes are made, and young people can sometimes be more prone to take risks where drinking and driving is concerned. But the impact a DUI conviction can have on your future is rough, and you should take steps to minimize the damage if possible. We will work with you to come up with a solution that works, and that protects your future possibilities. If college is in your plans, or if you are applying for a certain type of job, we know that a DUI or MIP conviction can hurt the chances of being hired or getting into certain programs. Our goal is to defend your case now, so your future is protected later. You should also be aware of the likelihood that your insurance rates, which are higher for younger drivers, may rise. We can help to keep those rates manageable by developing a defense strategy that minimizes the impact of the charges against you by finding an end result that works.
If you have questions about what to do if you get a DUI and are underage, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West. Call us today to talk about your case and learn what to do next.