The big problem with getting a DUI under the age of 21 is that the blood alcohol content (BAC) for a conviction drops significantly. When you’re under the legal drinking age, anything over 0.02% BAC is grounds for a conviction of a traffic infraction. If you’re over 21, that percentage goes up to 0.05% for DWAI and 0.08% for DUI.
Additionally, when you’re under 21 and get a DUI, the ramifications of losing your license are much more severe.
Ramifications for Getting a DUI Under the Age of 21
As an adult over 21 convicted of a DUI, you’ll lose your license and get one month without driving. After that, you’ll be assigned eight months with an Interlock unit, which is a breath device installed on motor vehicles to prevent someone from driving while under the influence. It requires a breath sample to start the engine, and periodic breath samples while driving.
When you’re underage and convicted of an alcohol-related offense, you’re not allowed to use the Interlock device, which means you’ll be forced to go an extended period of time without driving. That can be a long time, especially in Colorado, where we rely so heavily on cars to get around.
Often in DUI cases, I see the cops throw the “kitchen sink” at drivers. They’ll charge someone with DUI, weaving, open container in the car, driving with excess alcohol, and maybe even more. In my opinion, all those charges are used as leverage to encourage the person to take whatever deal the DA ends up offering. So, if you’re charged with DUI, weaving, open container, and something else, and the DA says, “We’ll drop all the charges if you agree to plead guilty to DWAI,” you’ll be much more likely to accept the deal than try to go to trial and fight all the charges in Court.
That trend is true whether the driver is over 21 or not. Additional charges that someone underage may face is underage possession of alcohol, drinking underage, etc.
Other Driving Offenses Under the Age of 21
Aside from alcohol-related offenses, most other driving tickets aren’t affected by the age of the driver (so long as they have a license or learning permit). If you’re pulled over for careless driving, it will be four points whether you’re 16, 26, or 96. The only difference will be that the number of points until you lose your license will vary (the younger you are, the less points that will cause you to lose your license).
At 21, you won’t lose your license until you get 12 points in a year and 18 points in two years. If you’re younger, the number of points before you lose your license drops significantly. So, while you’re treated the same, age-wise, the number of points easily results in a ramification of your driving privileges.
In sum, drivers under the age of 21 should do their best to drive safely to ensure that they get to keep their license.
If You’re Charged with a DUI, Contact an Attorney
Dealing with the Court system in Colorado can be challenging, which is why it’s so important to hire an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the system. If you’re charged with DUI, call our office today at 303-449-1873 to schedule a complimentary consultation and find out if Barre Sakol is the right representative for your case.