Similar to all of the other states, Arizona prohibits people under the age of 21 from buying, being in possession of, or drinking alcoholic beverages. Consequently, Arizona also imposes harsh penalties for individuals under 21 years of age who are found to be driving a motor vehicle with alcohol in their system.
On many occasions, people under the age of 21 are stopped by police for a motor vehicle violation, investigated and ultimately arrested for a DUI. Unfortunately, they soon realize that the usual legal limits of .08% blood alcohol concentration or "Impaired to the Slightest Degree" may not control the outcome of their case. This is because Arizona also has a Minor DUI or commonly referred to as the "Baby DUI" law.
Underage DUI In Arizona
Arizona has a zero tolerance police when it comes to people under 21 driving with alcohol in their system. Specifically, A.R.S. 4-244.34 says that it is illegal for a person under 21 years of age to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while there is any spirituous liquor in the person's body. Essentially this means that a person under 21 can be prosecuted for a DUI whether or not their alcohol concentration is above the legal limit. In fact, any alcohol at all in a person's system who is under 21 and driving a vehicle can result in a DUI arrest and prosecution.
Penalties for Underage DUI in Arizona:
As expected, the State of Arizona imposes very harsh penalties upon people who are charged with and convicted of a Minor DUI. In contrast to a regular DUI, jail time is not mandatory and is typically not ordered. However, a Minor DUI pursuit to A.R.S. 4-244.34 is a class one misdemeanor. Consequently, the penalties involved may include:
- Up to six moths jail
- Fines of $2,500 plus an 84% surcharge
- Alcohol screening and treatment
Most importantly however, a judge can suspend the drivers license of a person under the age of 21 who has been convicted of driving with alcohol in their system for two years. In some cases, the person can obtain a restricted license which allows them to drive to work or school. However, an ignition interlock device would be required and results in additional monthly costs.
Defenses to Minor DUI Charges
Although these are serious charges, there are a number of defenses available which must be investigated when you are charged with driving with alcohol in your system. These include:
- Lack of Probable Cause to Arrest
- Lack of Reasonable Suspicion to Conduct a Traffic Stop
- Lack of Driving or Being in Actual Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle
- Inaccurate Blood or Breath Test Results
- Violations of your Miranda Rights
- Denial of Your Right to Speak with an Attorney
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