DUI Defense of Minors
A person who is under the age of 21 who is convicted of driving under the influence faces a jail term of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000. That person doesn’t necessarily have to be driving either. He or she need only be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
Actual physical control
The State of Washington doesn’t really describe being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in its DUI laws. Those types of cases are fact specific. A common example of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence might be sleeping it off in a parking lot with the keys to your vehicle in the ignition. Even if a person is sleeping anywhere in their vehicle while under the influence with the keys their possession, he or she might be deemed to be actual physical control.
Blood alcohol level for minors
The legislature of the State of Washington set the minor blood alcohol level much lower than that of an adult. An adult can be deemed to be under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more. A minor need only have a blood alcohol content of .02 or more within two hours of a traffic stop to be arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence. If a minor’s blood alcohol content is .08 or above, he or she can be charged with a gross misdemeanor adult DUI. A finding of guilty or a plea of guilty to the gross misdemeanor makes that minor subject to being sentenced as an adult.
The fact that the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in Washington doesn’t apply to a minor who drives with any THC at all in his or her system. A minor can be charged with a marijuana DUI for having any amount of THC in their blood. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Aside from up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 on DUI with a blood alcohol content of .07 or under, there are no mandatory sentencing guidelines for a conviction involving a minor DUI. Sentencing is up to a judge’s broad discretion. A drug and alcohol evaluation is likely to be ordered, and the minor would be required to follow all recommendations of the assessment. Community service might also be required.
An arrest for a minor DUI in Washington also carries a 90 day driver’s license suspension from the Department of Licensing. Note that you don’t have to be convicted of the offense to receive a suspension. You need only be arrested for it. The suspension can only be contested by properly seeking a request for a hearing on it within 20 days of the date of arrest. We strongly recommend that timely action be taken on this.
Contact a Spokane DUI Lawyer today
Knowledgeable, experienced and thorough legal representation is needed for anybody charged with a minor DUI. The consequences of a conviction can be profound. They can affect a young person’s job prospects, educational opportunities, ability to enlist in the armed forces and ability to travel to Canada or other nations. Depending on the facts of the case, the minor’s past history, the prosecutor and the judge, there might even be opportunities to keep a minor DUI conviction off of an individual’s criminal record. Our objective it to protect that record while looking toward a young person’s future.
If your son or daughter has been charged with a minor DUI, or if you’re under the age of 21, and you’re living on your own, don’t hesitate to contact our offices by phone or email to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We want to see young people have the best future possible.