Arizona Underage DUI Defenses for Under 21 DUI or Minor DUI

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Are you or a loved one facing trouble with the law regarding an underage DUI or other alcohol offense? The good news is that you’re far from alone. In fact, charges related to alcohol are among the most commonly heard in juvenile courts in Arizona (and it is very common for those over 18 as well).

While it’s true that the legal repercussions following minor consumption or purchase of alcohol can affect a young person’s personal and professional future, getting the proper affordable DUI attorney and exploring all of your legal options is key to preventing a criminal record.

An underage DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor, according to the Arizona Revised Statutes – ARS 4-246 (B) and you have so much life ahead of you.


Underage DUI Sobriety Test

Arizona Laws and Minor Consumption of Alcohol

There are a few different penalties you can face in the state of Arizona if you find yourself charged with minor consumption of alcohol. In fact, you may receive more than one type of penalty if you are found guilty. The main types of penalties for this area include:

    • Community service hours (exact amount to be determined by the presiding judge)
    • Required attendance at an alcohol education or related class
    • Up to a year of probation

Penalties vary from case to case and depend on a variety of factors, such as the amount of alcohol, previous offenses (if applicable), who else was involved, etc. Only a consultation with an experienced DUI attorney can give you a good idea of what kinds of exact penalties you’re looking at. If any violence was involved, more serious penalties may also be at play.

What’s more, is, unlike most DUI charges that revoke your driving privileges for 90 days, this statute invokes a 2-year mandatory suspension of your license, which is a very harsh consequence. However, the judge may order MVD to provide you with a special ignition interlock restricted driver’s license (SIIRDL) that will allow you to drive to school or work during the suspension. This will also require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) at your expense.

If you are under the age of 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of more than 0.08 while driving, not only will you be charged with underage DUI, but you may also be charged with a regular DUI, extreme DUI, or super extreme DUI charges, depending on the BAC level.

Additionally, Under ARS 28-1381(A) (3), you can also be charged with drugged driving, if law enforcement suspects you are under the influence of drugs too (see: Difference between DWI and DUI) There’s also another charge that you will be cited with, DUI to the Slightest Degree.

Teen DUI - Under 21 DUI

Penalties for DUI Charges

Minimum Penalties Mandatory for Underage DUI to the Slightest Degree (0.00 to 0.08 BAC) under ARS § 28-1381 (I):

    • 10 days in jail that can be reduced to 1 day, if your attorney can negotiate a suspended jail sentence (must prove that you successfully completed drug/alcohol assessment classes
    • Approximately $2,000 in fines and fees
    • Drug and alcohol screening and classes
    • 90-day driver’s license suspension (First 30 days – no driving and last 60 days – restricted driving)
    • 6 months possible of an IID
    • 8 points were added to MVD and Traffic Survival School
    • Obtain SR-22 Insurance for up to 3 years (may possibly be Avoided)

If you have prior convictions within the past 7 years (84 months), your penalties will increase.

Regular DUI – First Offense – (0.08 to 0.15 BAC)

If your BAC is anywhere from 0.08 to 0.15 while driving in Arizona you will be arrested and charged with a class 1 misdemeanor DUI, under ARS § 28-1381. Penalties for a first-offense DUI may include the following:

    • 10 days in jail with 9 days suspended
    • Pay $1,250 and up in fines and fees
    • Complete the approved traffic school traffic course
    • Install a certified IID, pursuant to 28-3319 at your expense
    • Perform community service (if court-ordered)
    • Driver’s license revoked for 90 to 360 days
    • Probation up to three years

Extreme DUI – First Offense – (0.15 to 0.20 BAC)

If your BAC is anywhere from 0.15 to 0.20 while driving in Arizona you will be arrested and charged with a class 1 misdemeanor Extreme DUI, under ARS § 28-1382. Penalties for a first-offense extreme DUI may include the following:

    • 30 days in jail with 20 days suspended
    • Pay $2,500 and up in fines and fees
    • Complete the approved traffic school traffic course
    • Install a certified IID, pursuant to 28-3319 at your expense
    • Perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service
    • Driver’s license revoked for 1 year or more
    • Probation depends on the judge

Super Extreme DUI – First Offense – (0.20 & Above)

If your BAC is anywhere from 0.20 and up while driving in Arizona you will be arrested and charged with a class 1 misdemeanor Super Extreme DUI, under ARS § 28-1382. Penalties for a first-offense super extreme DUI may include the following:

    • 45 days in jail
    • Pay $2,500 and up in fines and fees
    • Complete the approved traffic school traffic course
    • Install a certified IID, pursuant to 28-3319 at your expense
    • Perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service
    • Driver’s license revoked for 1 year or more
    • Probation depends on the judge

DUI Defenses an Attorney Can Use to Fight Against Under 21 DUI Charges

Best DUI Lawyer in Phoenix Ranked by An experienced attorney knows what defenses can be used to either have your charges of underage DUI and penalties reduced or dropped entirely.

In the cases of driving under the influence with a BAC less than 0.08, whether you are being charged as an underage driver or with the slightest degree, while a prosecutor will argue that Arizona is a no tolerant state, the jury (being sound citizens) will usually vote to dismiss these charges.

It is almost ridiculously impossible for such a low amount of BAC to impair someone’s driving. However, a BAC of 0.08 and up will usually stand up in court; therefore, an attorney will have to use his or her good defense tactics to find some way of reducing your charges and/or penalties to a minimum or dismissing the entire case.

The most common use of DUI defense is stating you were stopped without probable cause. This often occurs when a police officer stops you under a hunch or for suspicion, which is not a valid reason to pull someone over.

If your attorney could prove this was the case, your charges will be dropped and your case dismissed.

There are also guidelines implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that excludes individuals with certain conditions of field sobriety testing. Some examples of those exempt from testing, are people who are at least 50 pounds overweight or over 65 years of age, those with a disability that may prevent them from keeping their balance, people with knee, back, or other specific injuries, or ladies wearing heels higher than 2 inches.

Going against these guidelines is a cause for dismissal.

Additional DUI defenses that can be used in your case:

    • There was no valid reason to arrest you
    • Field sobriety tests were faulty or inaccurate
    • The officer did not read you your rights
    • Lack of evidence or witnesses
    • Involuntary Intoxication (i.e. someone slipped drugs into a drink)
    • You were arrested for refusing the field sobriety tests
    • You were in a parked car with no intentions of driving
    • You were not in Actual Physical Control
    • Your rights to counsel were refused
    • The officer was not certified at the time of administering the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus” (HGN) eye test
    • There wasn’t sufficient evidence to detain you
    • The police reports were inconsistent
    • Medical conditions that affect breathalyzer readings

The tiniest thing can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

More Reasons to Hire a DUI Defense Attorney in Arizona

The main reason for hiring a good criminal defense attorney in Arizona is to have someone experienced in dealing with DUI cases like yours at your side fighting to defend you.

Your attorney will pull your police report immediately to gather all the evidence against you and then put together a defense plan to promote a more positive outcome. They can also answer all your questions pertaining to your case, let you know what your options are, file your claims, fill out forms for you, and so much more. Most importantly, they can go to court for you and let you know the outcome.

Contrary to popular belief that hiring an attorney costs too much, truth is, hiring an attorney can help save you thousands, possibly on paying unnecessary costs and fees, maximum fines, surcharges, assessments, insurance rates, licensing fees, IID installment, paying for classes or testing that are not required, and more.

The fines and fees of a DUI can significantly add up to more than it would cost for an attorney.

Not to mention the time, problems, and grief an experienced DUI attorney can save you since DUI cases in Arizona are highly complex… the jargon and legal terminology used alone will have you baffled, and let’s not forget all the paperwork involved, would you even know who gets a copy of what?

According to the courts, you are responsible for locating, completing, and submitting the proper forms accurately to the correct sources and following through with all the other necessary actions involved, to the end.

Parents speaking with teen about minor DUI

Taking the First Step to Dismiss your Underage DUI Charge

Call or email our law offices today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one with an alcohol offense. After hearing your case and what you would like to see happen, we will evaluate the situation and explore the best possible legal outcomes.

You really can’t afford to make any mistakes when your lifelong reputation is on the line, especially if you are young and just starting out in life.

Arja Shah is an experienced DUI defense attorney in Arizona who has been defending clients of all ages with criminal and DUI charges for over 14 years, and she can help defend you too. She understands what is at stake when you are underage and accused of driving under the influence in Arizona and will help to make things as easy as can be for you.

Arja is the founder of Shah Law Firm, which she built on the principle that everyone deserves the right to a good defense to get the best possible outcome in any case. This is also why she has affordable rates and easy payment plans for those who qualify. There is nothing that Arja doesn’t know about the way DUI cases work in Arizona and she will use her knowledge to fight for your rights.

Contact Shah Law Firm now to discuss your case and find out how your charges can be reduced to a minimum, if not completely dismissed altogether.

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Fill out the form below, or call us directly at (602) 560-7408 to schedule your free, one-on-one consultation. There is no obligation and all consultations are strictly confidential.


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