If you’re a minor or a parent of a minor, you should never see driving under the influence as just a youthful mistake. While it is true that young people often make bad decisions, the court won’t be lenient simply because the driver is under the age of 21. If you or your child gets arrested, you need to take the charge seriously and seek prompt legal advice. In this post, we’ll explore how the law treats underage DUIs and why it’s so important to avoid conviction. You should also consider contacting our Portland DUI attorneys.
What’s Considered a DUI for Someone Under 21
In Oregon, it’s unlawful for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Even mere possession is a crime. A minor in possession charge is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. That suspension can be lifted after 90 days in some cases. Drinking and driving attracts heavier penalties.
You’re probably aware that a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more can result in a DUI charge for any driver. However, some motorists are held to a higher standard. For example, commercial drivers can face a DUI charge if their BAC is just .04 percent. However, underage drivers are not allowed to have any amount of alcohol on their breath or in their blood. Even a .01 percent reading can result in both criminal charges and driver’s license suspension.
How Underage DUIs Are Handled
There’s no major difference in the way the legal system treats adults and minors accused of driving under the influence. As long as there is alcohol in your system and an officer believes your ability to drive is affected, they can arrest you. Some counties in Oregon treat drivers under 18 as juveniles and this can help them to avoid some of the penalties. However, this isn’t guaranteed.
Young drivers and adults often face the same diversion eligibility requirements and minimum sentencing requirements. For first-offense underage DUIs that are handled by the adult court system, the maximum penalty is one year in jail, a $6, 250 fine, and five years’ probation. The driver could also receive a one-year driver’s license suspension. In order to escape conviction or avoid the maximum penalties, you need to hire a Portland DUI lawyer.
It is important for both parents and young drivers to understand that DUI charges can have long-term consequences. Even if the individual isn’t ultimately convicted, the charge can stay on their record. Some high schools discipline students who are accused of DUIs while colleges may reject applications or deny financial assistance. Prospective employers also do background checks so it may be difficult for the individual to get a job. Even not having a valid driver’s license can make it difficult for them to get part-time work.
How to Help Your Child If They’ve Been Arrested
In an ideal world, teenagers would listen when their parents warn them about drinking alcohol and driving after drinking. However, not all teenagers follow their parents’ rules or adhere to the law. In many cases, they think they’re invincible. This is part of the folly of youth, but some decisions are more serious than others and the consequences are more severe.
If your child was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, the best thing you can do is seek legal advice. DUI allegations must be taken seriously given the far-reaching consequences. A competent attorney may be able to help your child to avoid jail time. If this isn’t possible, they may be able to keep the punishment to a minimum. Attorneys can also provide much-needed advice and guidance to both young drivers and their parents.
Hire the Trilogy Law Group to Defend Your Teenager
Underage DUIS, like all impaired driving cases, can be complex. With both administrative and criminal sanctions to consider, you shouldn’t attempt to handle things on your own. Many young drivers are eligible for Oregon’s DUII Diversion program and your attorney will advise you on whether this is an option. They can also represent the client during the DMV hearing so they can perhaps hold on to their license.
Since DUI cases can move quickly, you should contact a DUI attorney in Portland at the earliest opportunity. Whether you’re an underage driver who has been arrested or the parent of one, contact the Trilogy Law Firm. We’ll listen to the facts during the consultation and give you an expert legal opinion. Make that call today to secure the best possible outcome.