DUI penalties may be extremely harsh for drivers under the age of 18. Getting your license in high school means two things – finally, you get the freedom to drive yourself from A to B and of course you’d want to show up in front of your friends. Many kids aged fifteen to eighteen will make the mistake of driving under the influence. At this age, young people believe they can do anything, including drunk driving. Even if they feel sober enough to sit behind the wheel, being pulled over by an officer, won’t be so fun.
What happens when the driver is underage, younger than eighteen and twenty-one? If your child has done the mistake to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and caused an accident or was pulled over, it’s important to know that you should immediately talk to a Portland DUI attorney. Even if the kid is underage, it doesn’t mean that they won’t face consequences.
Drivers Between 18 and 21 Are Legally Considered Adults
For a driver who is twenty-one or older, the legal limit is .08 or above (just like for any other adult). If the driver is between eighteen and twenty-one years of age, they are also considered adults (they can vote so they are old enough to be a subject of the general criminal justice system).
Juvenile Court Consequences for Teens Aged 15 to 17 Years Stopped for DUI
A driver younger than the age of eighteen is considered a juvenile. Drivers aged fifteen to seventeen that were drinking and driving, if pulled over will face consequences in juvenile court. In case they have caused an injury with their drunk driving, it will be filed as a felony, but there might be some exceptions. Most of the time if the person is seventeen years old or younger, the juvenile court proceeding will go with diversion and treatment instead of a conviction.
When the diversion program is finished for a seventeen-year-old driver (or younger) the records will be sealed and will not be used against the person in the future.
16-17 Years Old Drivers Can Be Subject to the DMV Administrative Hearing Findings
There is a big difference between juvenile court and the court justice system and the Department of Motor Vehicles. If a person who is sixteen or seventeen years of age gets a DUI they can have an administrative hearing. The Department of Motor Vehicles has its own factual finding, their own hearing, and arranges their suspension.
This administrative hearing isn’t a part of the criminal justice system; it is not sealed and administrative actions can begin to add up and be used against the driver, even if they were underage at the time of the DUI.
If somebody who is sixteen or seventeen years old gets a DUI and they are convicted or they do a diversion program, the conviction goes away. The young driver can expect DMV to suspend the license for a year. If the person was nineteen years old when they get their driver’s license back but they get another DUI, then they might face their first DUI as an adult.
For the Department of Motor Vehicles, this is a second administrative action. It has bigger consequences, longer suspension of the license, and all consequences that follow with a suspended license (ignition interlock device, high penalties, etc.).
Oregon Laws if You’re Under 21 and Get a DUI
In Oregon, minors who are caught driving under the influence will get penalties including a one-year driver’s license suspension (for first-time convictions). In some cases, this suspension may last for ninety days.
Driving under the influence of alcohol while being younger than twenty-one results in more serious penalties than a MIP. Any alcohol in the breath of a minor or in their blood will act as presumptive evidence of DUI for an administrative license suspension. Even if the driver only blows a 0.01% BAC, their license can be suspended as a minor.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
It’s best to consult a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Your parents should do this as soon as they learn about your DUI arrest. Even if you are fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen, an attorney by your side will help you go through the process easier.
Our team at Trilogy Law Group is here to review your case and stand by your side even if things appear complex and scary. Call our office and schedule your first consultation claim. We’ll work hard and dedicated to getting the best outcome for you.