Arizona Underage DUI Laws

Juvenile DUI to the Slightest Degree

Arizona is one of the toughest states on the crime of Juvenile Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The legal minimum drinking age in Arizona is 21. However, you can legally drive at the age of 16. This gives a person five years of driving before they hit the legal drinking age. Arizona law is much tougher on what they call “baby DUI” than other states.

Underage DUI in Arizona

For some reason, teenagers in Arizona think they can’t be charged with DUI. After all, if they aren’t old enough to drink, why would they get in trouble for drinking and driving? Many others assume that, as long as they don’t have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) f more than .08, they won’t get in trouble. They usually learn the truth the hard way – by getting arrested and charged with a “Baby DUI.” DUI defense lawyers in Arizona know exactly what kind of penalties are associated with this sort of charge.

If your teenager has gotten arrested and charged with DUI, you should get them a lawyer right away. There’s as much (if not more) at stake for someone under 21 who gets charged with DUI. If you show up at court without a DUI defense lawyer in Arizona, your child may end up with the strictest penalties possible. Rather than risk that, call and set up your initial consultation as soon as possible after their arrest.

Anybody Can Be Charged with DUI in Arizona

It doesn’t matter how old a person is – they can absolutely get arrested and charged with DUI in Arizona. Arizona drunk driving laws apply to all motorists. They even apply to people who are caught driving impaired while on a motorized scooter, tractor, or moped.

A lot of young people think the worst that can happen is that they’d be charged with minor in possession. The truth is that teens can be arrested for DUI. The laws in Arizona are really strict when it comes to young people drinking and driving.

Blood Alcohol Content for Juvenile DUI in Arizona

As most drivers know, in Arizona, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are age 21 and older is .08 percent. For juvenile drivers under the age of 21, however, driving with any amount of spiritous liquor in their bloodstream is grounds for arrest.

Juvenile DUI to the slightest degree is the crime that you will be charged with when your BAC is .00 to .08. If you are under age 21 and have a BAC of .08 percent or more while you are driving a vehicle, you might also be charged with regular DUI (BAC .08 to .15), extreme DUI (BAC .15 to .20), or super extreme DUI (BAC .20 and above).

Are the Penalties for Conviction of DUI Different for Minors?

Arizona’s drunk driving laws are pretty clear when it comes to minors. If someone under the age of 21 is pulled over for drunk driving, they can be arrested even if their BAC is much lower than .08. Arizona follows what they refer to as the “not a drop” law. This means that people under 21 can be charged with a DUI or a “Baby DUI” if their BAC is anything above zero.
Your DUI defense lawyer in Arizona is going to have to prove that you had no alcohol in your system to get the charges dropped. Or they’ll have to demonstrate that you weren’t driving and didn’t have control of the vehicle at the time of your traffic stop. If they can’t do this, you’ll face the following penalties:

  • Fines of up to $750
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • 2-year suspension of your driver’s license

If you happen to have a BAC of .08 or higher, you’re going to be treated like any other driver. This means you’ll face the same penalties as an adult. However, you’ll still face a 2-year suspension no matter what. The good news is that the judge may be willing to offer you limited driving privileges. This allows you to drive to work, home, or school. However, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device if this is approved.

Penalties for Juvenile DUI in Arizona

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona if you are under the age of 21 can bring harsh penalties upon you. You can lose your driver’s license for two years, even for a first offense. You can also serve up to 10 days in jail, and be ordered to pay up to $2000 in fines. Judges may also limit the driving privileges of a juvenile who is convicted of DUI, allowing them just to drive to and from school and their job. This requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the juvenile’s car. Other penalties that are often imposed upon juveniles convicted of DUI crimes in Arizona include up to a year of probation, required attendance at an alcohol education class, and community service hours.

Minimum mandatory penalties for juvenile DUI to the slightest degree (0.00 to 0.08 BAC) include:

  • 10 days in jail (a good criminal defense lawyer can get this reduced to one day)
  • $2000 in fines and fees
  • Attendance at drug and alcohol classes, and screening
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days (with no driving for the first 30 days and restricted driving for the last 60 days)
  • 8 points added to your motor vehicle record and mandatory attendance of Traffic Survival School
  • Installation of IID for 6 months (possible)
  • Must obtain SR-22 insurance for up to three years

Penalties, of course, may vary from one case to the next and depend on many different factors, such as the amount of alcohol present in your system, any previous offenses you may have on record, and others who were involved.

Other Charges Relating to Juvenile DUI in Arizona

Other criminal charges are often brought against juveniles who are charged with DUI crimes in Arizona. They may include, but are not limited to:

  • Soliciting alcohol
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Refusing to provide a truthful name when detailed
  • Traffic violations of various sorts
  • Possession of and/or using a fake ID
  • Identity theft

Defenses Against Juvenile DUI Charges in Arizona

If you have been charged with juvenile DUI, you need a good criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you reach the best outcome in your case. There are possible defenses against Juvenile DUI charges in Arizona, including:

  • You were stopped without probable cause- i.e., without a valid reason to be pulled over
  • You have a disability that prevents you from keeping your balance and couldn’t pass the field sobriety test because of that
  • You have knee, back, or other specific injuries that prevent you from passing the field sobriety test
  • The officer did not read you your rights when you were charged
  • There are no witnesses or evidence