Friday, November 5, 2010

Underage Drinking and DUI Laws in Arizona

Most people are aware of the general aspects of the driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws. What many people between the ages of 18-20 do not know is that these laws effectively do not apply to them! If you are between the ages of 18 and 20, you should read on to discover what the law says about your right to drive after you've had spirituous liquor.

First off, know that if you are caught with any liquor in your system and you are under the age of 21, you will immediately lose your license for two years. It is irrelevant if the alcohol is in your system due to a religious ceremony or a barbecue. However, in addition to being charged under this statute (ARS 4-244), you will also be charged with whichever section of the DUI/DWI laws apply to your situation.

Since ARS 28-1381(1) provides that you do not need to be over a.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) in order to receive a DUI, this has serious implications. Many adults in this age bracket would not be particularly worried about driving after a minute amount of alcohol had been consumed, regardless of the circumstances (this writer wouldn't presume to judge an adult of any age who consumes alcohol). Since one drink can leave the odor of alcohol on a person's breath, the driver could easily get hit with both statutes when they are in actuality far from impaired.

For this reason it is critical that drivers under the age of 21 do not consume any alcohol before driving. Underage drinking laws notwithstanding, it is in no way an acceptable risk to drive after drinking even one drink in this situation. It is likely that after a person is automatically charged under ARS 4-244, they will be almost guaranteed to be charged with ARS 28-1381(1), and the former charge being used as leverage for the latter in court.

If it is too late, don't despair. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to look at your case and determine if there is a possibility for a defense or lessening of the charges. In most jurisdictions these days the majority of cases are handled by plea bargain, in response to the massive overcrowding of the legal system. Many DUI attorneys in Phoenix offer free consultations to clients, so you risk nothing by making a phone call.

Cias Hart is a veteran and resident of Arizona. If you live in the greater metro area and have been charged with underage drinking and driving, contact a reputable Arizona DUI attorney immediately. Most offer free consultations and will be more than willing to assist you in your legal troubles. If you have not had any problems, consider speaking with an Arizona DUI defense lawyer so you have a contact should you find yourself in legal trouble. Good luck and stay safe!


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