Adolescent rites of passage in this country include getting a driver’s license around age 16, gaining the right to vote at age 18, and being allowed to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages at age 21. Despite the five-year gap, underage drunk driving is a serious social concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle wrecks are the leading cause of death for young drivers, and about 25 percent of those fatal crashes involve an alcohol-impaired underage driver – which means anyone younger than 21 years old. That’s right: A college sophomore who is 20 faces the same dangers and consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol as a 17-year-old high school student.
If you are under age 21 and have been accused of DUI or if you are trying to help someone who fits that description, come to the KY underage DUI defense lawyers at the Carman Law Firm to discuss your options. The founder and managing partner of our firm, Dan Carman, has wide-ranging experience from when he served in the United States Marine Corps as defense counsel, prosecutor, legal assistance attorney, and in-house counsel for an infantry battalion. This background gives him a valuable understanding about both sides of the legal process, which can be very beneficial. Based in Lexington, he represents clients throughout Kentucky who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Let him work with you to plan the aggressive defense that you will need. Use the convenient online inquiry form or call (859) 685-1055 for a free initial consultation.
Although the best choice one can make is to not operate a car after drinking, the reality is that many people do. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person’s driving abilities, but motorists older than age 21 are legally permitted to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of less than 0.08 percent as they as they are not “under the influence of alcohol.” Drivers who are under the age of 21 are prohibited by law from operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 percent or above. Known as a “zero tolerance” law, it effectively means a beer with the guys or a glass of wine with dinner can raise an underage driver’s BAC high enough that he or she can be arrested for DUI.
A driver under 21 with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.08 percent commits a Class C infraction, which can carry a penalty of a one- to six-month license suspension, a $100 to $500 fine, and an alcohol abuse education program. If the BAC is higher than 0.08 percent, the minor driver will likely be subject to the same penalties as older drivers. The penalties include a fine of $200 to $500 plus a $375 service fee, two to thirty days in jail, and a one- to four-month license revocation. The penalties are harsher for each subsequent DUI. The penalties can also be increased if there are aggravating circumstances such as refusing to submit to a chemical test, driving with a passenger under age 12, speeding in excess of 30 miles per hour over the limit, driving on a suspended license, having a BAC of 0.15 percent or more, or causing a serious accident.
Charges of DUI while under 21 are serious and carry serious penalties, so it’s best handled with professional legal help. There are many defenses that can be used to fight or reduce an underage DUI charge:
- Alcohol in BAC was not from a beverage (trace amounts can come from mouthwash, prescriptions, etc.)
- Authorities did not properly administer the chemical test for sobriety
- Improperly administered field sobriety test
- Improperly handled procedural matters
- Mistaken identity
- The sobriety testing equipment malfunctioned
- Unlawful arrest (no probable cause, failure to read Miranda rights, etc.)
- Unlawful traffic stop.
An accusation is not the same as a conviction, which can stay on an offender’s record for 5 or 10 years and affect their chances at getting a loan, a job, an apartment, and more. There are many ways defense attorneys can help.
KY Juvenile DUI Lawyer
If you or someone you know is facing charges for underage driving while impaired, having a knowledgeable advocate in your corner who will thoroughly review and investigate the situation can make all the difference. Kentucky minor DUI lawyer Dan Carman provides aggressive representation with proven results to clients across the state in communities such as Richmond, Winchester, Georgetown, and Nicholasville. A native of Lexington and a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, Dan is dedicated to helping those who find themselves struggling against criminal accusations. He knows how the Kentucky Criminal Justice system operates and how it can affect juveniles. Call his office at (859) 685-1055 or complete this convenient online form for a free initial consultation.